22 January, 2012

In which Chelsea, Regal and Valor return to lessons

Friday I had two dressage lessons, the first in a very long time. I did over an hour on Regal and about 45 minutes on Valor, who couldn’t take more due to his lack of fitness. By the end I had a nice thin sweat going despite it being 20 degrees, however I love that feeling, really gets me pumped up and inspired.

Vanessa and I are new to working with each other and I have a more liberal style of riding dressage, so there were a few major changes right away. However, I was surprised at my body and its ability to hold the course and not revert too often back to what we know. My position was give two thumbs up but, she thought my dressage saddle was a bit small in the seat which was preventing me from being as effective as I could be, so this coming week I will try working in her saddle. The funny thing is I just got this saddle this summer and it is my favorite saddle of all time. *Sigh*

With Regal we worked on his “over achiever” brain and slowing everything down. This was really helpful as sometimes I struggle with feeling like he is going along with his big movement and I am not control all the steps. He pretty quickly figured out what we wanted though he would try to rush back into “I know what you want, let me do it NOW”, lots and lots of patience from me, very quiet hands and soft legs that were “alive.” We also used downward transitions to help rebalance him when he got too discombobulated. Once we mastered that pretty well in the trot and canter and had mostly uphill, obedient, soft transitions we moved into should fore into leg yields off the quarter line. On his weaker side this was VERY hard, though after three attempts he really gave it his all and we had a few good steps several times in a row. The nice thing was he had a little sweat going on the bottom of his neck and a nice even foam on his mouth. Regal stayed very relaxed in the work, which is awesome.

Valor, who is very green but good, walked up the ring bucking. I was like “oh god”, I had to laugh at myself as I tried to explain, “he isn’t normally like this…” I guess the chiro the day before unearthed something or the fact he was in the dressage saddle for the first time…I let him has a few minutes to run around in the ring. He literally bucked non-stop. Finally settled in and I got one. He is Mr. Wiggles and his hind end goes like a tractor trailer. Shoulders turn, hind end flies out and around (warning makes wide right turns). After some attempts to get him forward into the bridle at the walk we abandoned that path and went for the trot, it was a win. He is also a busy body, who needs to be kept thinking and guessing what is coming next. So we did lots of transitions within the trot, then about 300 figure eights controlling the haunches, getting him to turn off my hips and no hands. Also a success, how did I luck out with two super smart horses? Valor also got very foamy, had moments of a really lovely back swinging trot. We did a little canter but he is so uneducated with leg I chose not to push it and just work on trot. So all week Valor gets to trot figures until we are both red in the face. Hello fitness here we come.

So we have a bunch of homework before Friday which will be our last set of lessons before Vanessa goes to Florida for 6 weeks.

And some photos of my new 17.0H pony Valor before:

Week two at my barn, still need to get a body clip:

01 January, 2012

Royo Transforms

Thanks to Amanda and Lindsey working really hard on Royo's dressage recently he has really come into himself. Today Deena rode him in her lesson and I was so blown away. I cannot wait for this guy to show this year with Amanda!

Whomever buys this copper boy is going to be so lucky. He is so sweet yet talented!