Monday, February 10, 2014

Deb Rosen Clinic: Dressage

This weekend was the clinic with Deb Rosen. She’s a Rolex competitor, so it was super cool to get an upper-level eventer’s perspective on Paddy.

Deb Rosen on The Alchemyst. For the record, I'm never jumping anything like that. Ever.

After three days off, Paddy was READY TO GO on Saturday morning for dressage. Unfortunately our warmup was pretty limited, since there was a kid’s lesson going on in the outdoor and the other clinic riders were in the covered arena. That left the round pen, so we did our new trot-till-you-drop warmup routine in there. Paddy was super distracted because we brought Taran along as well so Fuzzypony could ride, so they spent quite a lot of time calling to each other. It was annoying but I just ignored it and kept him moving.

It’s interesting how different a clinic is from a regular lesson. You show up and ride for 30 minutes with someone you’ve never met and has never seen you or your horse. You just sort of dive right in and they start picking you apart. There’s no time for breaks, no time for breathers. You ride what you have and work through the issues. Deb was super awesome because she immediately picked up how heavy he is on the left aids.  She had me constantly correcting him for left bend – as she put it, pretend like you have Tourettes’ and just keep annoying him about it. My left leg was SO TIRED by the end of our ride, I swear. I really need to start riding with a whip – I recently got the tiny spurs out, so that helps, but I need a whip to back it up.

There were a couple of big take-away points from my ride:

  • Keep the rhythm slow. This is a constant theme and even more important as we make our switch from the mach-one-Haffie warmup trot to the now-we’re-working trot. Use my core to half-halt him when he gets quick.
  • Remind him CONSTANTLY to bend left. All the time, every step. Don’t quit, don’t take no for an answer.
  • Do not canter more than 5-10 strides at a time. As soon as I feel him start to fall apart, back to trot, reorganize, then canter again. Cantering while he’s unbalanced won’t help, and right now he’s not strong enough to hold it for longer than that.

It was a pretty damn awesome ride, all things considered. I rode him in Taran's baucher and it was enough bit - of course my new Myler baucher arrived during the day Saturday, so now I'll be using that. I could half-halt him effectively with my body – a month ago, he would have blown me off, so that’s pretty huge progress. It’s still very hard to get him off the left aids and into the right aids, but it’s happening. The canter… wow, it’s getting so much better. SO MUCH. Exhibit A: right lead canter footage.

See? We haz canter! 

Deb was super positive and seemed pleased with the ride we put in – I know I was! I was also drenched in sweat at the end of our 30 minutes of torture, despite it being 40 degrees with a 10 degree wind chill. Anyone who says riding isn’t hard work clearly isn’t doing it right!

16 comments:

  1. Aw, video is private. :(

    Riding is awful hard work when you're doing it right! That advice on the canter is really good. I seem to go back to that "don't forget that it's okay to back off and rebalance" sort of thinking a lot as the work gets harder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooops, that should be fixed. Can you see it now?

      Delete
  2. Huge improvement in the canter even to my dressage idiot eyes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lack of flailing is easy to see, even if you don't do dressage, lol!

      Delete
  3. Paddy is looking better and better! Those first 5 steps of canter are AWESOME!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We're making progress for sure!

      Delete
  4. He looks like he is trying so hard! Looking good guys! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He really is! He's got such a super work ethic, I'm really lucky.

      Delete
  5. Looking great! Hafflie canter is always a challenge, but so fun once they 'get it!'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've been reading and apparently the canter is a breed thing? When he's got it, he's suuuuuuper smooth and balanced. When he's not, it's like steering a train wreck. We'll get it... someday!

      Delete
  6. Paddy has been improving by leaps and bounds in the short time I have been following your blog. Sounds like it was a very productive 30 minutes with great advice given!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I can't believe how far he's come in such a short time! And yes it was a VERY productive 30 minutes, and we both worked our butts off.

      Delete
  7. <3 Paddybear d'awwww

    He is looking like a real grown up horse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heheh... I'm not sure "real grown up horse" will ever apply to him. He's too cute!

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Heh... he got behind my leg and seemed like he was going to stop, then he saw Taran off in the distance and was all OOOH MUST TROT MORE. So no, not as tired as he pretended. :)

      Delete