Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dressage: better and better

Y’all, Paddy is just the most awesome horse ever. I may be slightly biased, I know, but he just keeps getting better and better, every ride
.
Sunday we had another dressage lesson. I told Jeanne about our Very Forward Warmup experiment, and she said that we should try it for the lesson. We did maybe 10-15 minutes of trot at whatever speed Paddy wanted, where the only requirement was for him to keep his nose between his shoulders (that is, stay straight). He wanted to look around a bit but Jeanne was adamant that we are working now, distractions are not allowed. Poor Haffie. Toward the end of the trot, we had a nice forward canter in each direction where I let him find his own balance on a 20 meter circle. It felt like we were zooming around, but Jeanne assured me it didn’t look like it.

After a walk break, we got to work. I was concerned it would be hard to get him back to a more manageable speed, but after a few squares, 10 m circles, and some walk laterals, he was very willing to steady his trot rhythm. Jeanne commented that he was really tracking up and was much more over his back than usual, so we both agreed that the full-speed-ahead trot warmup seems to be the way to go! He’s still throwing his haunches left whenever I ask him to move off my left leg, like in a leg-yield right, so we worked on making sure he’s moving away from my leg rather than into it.

We also did some leg-yields on the wall since he didn’t seem to be getting the leg-yield to the wall concept, and that was much more successful. Surprisingly, he was great to the right with plenty of angle and moving off my left leg (whut?), but to the left he got stiff in the left rein and tried to throw his left shoulder. We just threw in a couple of squares to the left and got the shoulder back under control – it’s like the magical exercise, I swear.

We moved on to canter, and our transitions were better than ever. Canter left is really coming along – we were able to do rudimentary canter squares on the left lead, which of course got him to rock back, stand up, and not fall in. The right lead is much, much better, but it still feels like we’re zooming around, and he’s definitely less balanced on the right lead. I also actually RODE the downward transitions instead of letting him flop into a trot, and although we have 5 or so steps of ick, I’m able to put my leg on and ask him to rebalance relatively well.

Toward the end, we worked on halting straight and square. The straight is getting better… some of the time. The other times we look sort of drunk as we stagger to a halt. I love having mirrors, but it’s also horribly obvious when your horse zig-zags around. Oops. At least I can laugh at our attempts? I worked really hard on keeping my weight even, through my reins and seat and legs, so that he wouldn’t have the slightest excuse to be anything but straight. He’s super sensitive when he wants to be and will use my being uneven as a reason to flop around. I mean, it’s a perfectly legit reason to flop, lol, but it’s hard to be precise with your body! Of course, if I ask it of him, I should ask it of myself as well, right?

So much to work on, but getting better every time!

Posin' like a pro!

18 comments:

  1. It's always funny how one direction of leg yield can be really put together, and the other direction can just fall apart. Story of my life ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, right? Just because it works one way doesn't mean it goes the other way!

      Delete
  2. And after all that goodness the pony takes great selfies! Sounds like a great ride. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure if he could work the camera phone, he'd be taking selfies non-stop!

      Delete
  3. Nice job moving forward with the Paddykins. From where I sit, it feels like this horse is so totally yours and the two of you are so darn sweet together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely have a partnership thing going on. It's so awesome!

      Delete
  4. Did I miss the bit where you explained about the squares? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops! I'll get around to that, promise!

      Delete
  5. Yay Paddy!! I also have a love/hate relationships with mirrors in the arena.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mirrors... they make you look awesome when you're good, and point out every flaw when you're bad. Eeep!

      Delete
  6. The full-speed-ahead warm-up works well for my mare, too. I think it helps get the zoomies out and let them stretch out. Glad you found a way that works for you and the Paddermeister

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only one whose horse warms up all zoomy-like! I'm glad to have figured out something that works for him.

      Delete
  7. Great report! Sounds like fun!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've never met Paddy, but I'm pretty convinced he's the best Haffie ever. So bias away! Haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure he is... although I'm guessing if you got a bunch of Haffie owners together in a room, they'd all argue about how their Haffie is the bestest. ;)

      Delete