Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Recap: Lesson #3 w/ C

Last Friday I had my third lesson with C.

I love C's teaching style and can't wait to finish uni and be able to afford lessons on a weekly basis - just two and a half years to get through; eep.

This week we wanted to focus on canter work, but in light of my poor scores at the DSRC dressage show, we opted to work on transitions instead (with a little bit of canter work thrown in too - I wasn't getting out of it that easy).

In my first two lessons we did a LOT of transitions, but mostly within the gait. We've also done a lot of shoulder in and counter flexion within the gait too for strength building, so it was nice to work on something different.

Oscar has NEVER had butt definition before, C is working wonders with his strength!

To begin with Oscar was behind my leg, he was off grass for most of the week due to the not so great weather and the knock on effect was a horse not so full of himself. I once made the mistake of nagging oscar with my leg when he was tired in a lesson. C rarely gets strict with me but she quickly told me off and made me kick him hard on the girth and leave him alone. It's really difficult not to nag subconsciously. When you're riding a horse you're controlling a lot of what he is doing, and some of what you do comes without thinking - little kicks included. It's quite a different concept asking the horse something and then letting him get on with it. Should be the norm, but it isn't. I think we do it to humans too - micro managing or something? Got to work on that.

More than capable of doing the job when the pesky rider leaves him alone.

Transitions wise, we figured out two things.

1. I ask for transitions too late, so when I think we're a stride or two early, chances are that's on time.
C popped a rock on the arena fence as a 'transition marker'. At the rock we had to either go up or down a gait, mostly between the trot and canter, but we threw in some walk transitions too.

I love working on accuracy stuff because obviously it is clearer to you as the rider when you get it right. Sometimes working within the gait I just have to trust C when she says we've got it, then remember what it feels like.

2. Our transitions themselves need work. If C wasn't completely happy with a transition we had to do it again. And again.. and again if need be. Which is great because I like consistency. No point settling for average when you want 8's (and dream of 9's) on your test sheet.

To combat Oscar's tendency to come above the bit, C asked that I have him super deep before a transition. 

Not sure these boots iz my colour mom!

It's not a permanent thing, just riding ugly at home so we can look good in the dressage arena.
Riding quite deep is a sneaky little trick to stop the horse looking like he comes above the bit - and works a treat when riding a transition away from a judge. As you demand good transitions throughout your training - you can eventually stop riding so deeply beforehand.

The concept seemed to work as the test over the weekend had lovely comments from the judge on all of our transitions!

Also note that he is not on the forehand when I ask for more flexion. In fact he is stretching over his back to come up and over his wither. Excellent exercise for suppling too and building a strong top line.

I think my next lesson will be a jumping one next Wednesday, I'm having to really force myself not to book in again with C before the usual three weeks!


I'm having major trouble with my blogger comments. I can see two on my previous post and it won't let me view them on either mobile or desktop, via blogger dashboard or direct link. I see your comments sitting there and it drives me insane - hopefully I can figure out what's going on soon!


  1. lovely pictures! i'm really bad about subconsciously nagging too -- and constantly get dinged for not leaving the horse alone during my lessons lol. sounds like C has a lot of good strategies for helping you squeeze as many points out of a test as possible!

  2. Yeah it seems to be working so far! :)