This entry title is the new keyword for my renewed focus on dressage. I’m thinking about changing some blog formatting and titles and such as well this weekend, when time permits. While I love the idea of jumping around a course clean and pretty, I also have found this focus on dressage to be incredible. It’s almost exhilarating.
I hopped on Romeo in my dressage saddle for just fifteen minutes of slow work last night first. I am hoping that he and I can improve some collection & general communication through some basic work at walk & trot. On the trail, he’s nearly a saint. In the arena, he’ll be fine, if it’s on his terms. A loose rein, a verbal whoa, and generally “staying out of his mouth and out of his way.” There are days I would like to “test the lesson” from Ransom to Romeo. With Romeo, it’s a light bit, and if I screw up the cue, what’s to be lost? I’ll still have my trail partner I can go goof off on..
So, Romeo and I quickly got down to it. I gathered up my reins rather short. He fussed & fought (the disadvantage of only owning one flash noseband), then realized that I wasn’t releasing until he found a “new right answer.” The walk to halts were really nice. What wasn’t so nice, was the halt to walk. He wanted more than green cookies for me to release as I asked him to walk forward – exactly one of those little nitty details Barb corrected. Barb corrected me to “quit releasing as we go forward”, and instead push Ransom forward into the collection. Romeo got the idea, at least I think. About a dozen or so take-offs, he quit backing up and instead pushed forwards.
The trot work, well, was a struggle. Again, he’d be more than tickled pink if I’d settle for him just being neck-level-with-the-withers. I got a few strides at a time with real collection. The funny thing? It felt more animated in my seat than his uncollected trot work. My hips were moving more when he was collected. Strange thing..
Ransom galloped to the side yard, frantically realizing that his Little Brother had stolen the show. I unsaddled Romeo, praised him with cookies for trying to learn something new. Then Ransom and I got dressed, and headed to the arena.
Ransom’s work on the lunge line was better - side reins at the same length. Five minutes each way as usual, and it looked better. Calmer, neck raised, bent at the poll 90. Looked good.
Our saddle work was inverted from Sunday’s ride. His walk to halt? Horrendous. Ugly, snarly, nasty, argumentative. His trot to walk? Nice. Canter to trot? Fantastic! Shoot, his trot to canter was even pretty until he got tired. I did a LOT of walk to halt, and settled for a small improvement, though nothing like I had Saturday or Sunday. I’m still not real sure what it was all about. We’ll tackle it again tonight, perhaps more walk to halts on the straight line on the rail rather than on a circle. Keep the trot and canter work on a circle, but maybe walk to halt without the bend will improve it.
One change – It’s hot, it’s nasty out, but I will go back to using my gloves. When I got Ransom untacked, showered, and headed inside to wash my hands, the warm water burned my fingers. I’ve now removed any excess skin I had on my fingers holding the reins so short. So even in the nasty heat, it’s back to the gloves, to protect my fingers from further skin wear and perhaps even blisters? Ew…