Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ALL THE LESSONS

Since the beginning of the year, I've been cramming in lessons every chance I get. I had been doing the once weekly thing, but with the weather, we started missing weeks, and that was no good. So I've basically been taking lessons whenever our schedules match and the arena is dry enough to ride.

And damn, has it ever paid off.

For many reasons, the dressage trainer we started riding with in November is exactly what Paddy and I need right now. She's got the patience and the attention to the exact right details, and as a result we've just been making breakthrough after breakthrough. Every ride has been exponentially better than the last. I really wish I'd had time to blog about each and every lesson, because each one has been like gold. My riding has really progressed, and with it, Paddy's rideability.

It's a big personal journey for me. I'm learning the feel of things like never before, and I'm so much more body-aware. The more I learn, the more I realize just how far I have to go, and how we've been coasting along on what I thought was correct. Honestly, it leaves me wondering how we ever got the scores we got last year, considering how wrong we were doing things! But the feeling of doing it right, of feeling the flow and harmony... it's really awesome.

We're no longer spending 45 minutes trying to get Paddy focused on his job. It doesn't take 10 minutes to get his attention back after a walk break. I'm (mostly) not pulling on the reins, my core is stronger, and Paddy is so light off my seat sometimes I have to remember not to ask so "loudly". Don't get me wrong, we still have so much to work on - but things that were a huge source of frustration only a month or so ago are not even a blip on the radar now. We've moved on to tackling the next problem, and the next, and the next... and as I get better and better, he goes better and better.

Unfortunately I only have a bit of video of our last lesson (in the dark), and maybe it's because it's dark that it looks so good... but damn, y'all, I feel like we've come a long way in a short time.


This is why I ride. It's the journey, it's the learning, it's the progress. It's the feeling of being one with your horse - of making it look effortless because it really is just a shift of weight or the tightening of a muscle, instead of pulling and pushing and kicking. I'm not just riding my horse anymore - we're actually doing dressage. :)

28 comments:

  1. Love those moments! It's so cool when you and your horse are hyper tuned in to each other. It really feels like communicating at a different level.

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  2. Great post, and great footage! Those transitions are fantastic!!!!!

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    1. They're definitely getting better. I had NO IDEA how much inside leg is needed for a good transition. Owie.

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  3. You and Paddy look fabulous! Keep up the good work. It sounds like you have a good trainer and regular-ish lessons make all the difference in the world. I'm feeling enviious.

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    1. I am absolutely loving all the lessons, and plan to keep it up for as long as the weather, schedules, health, and finances allow!

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  4. You two look amazing! Great job making such progress.

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    1. Thank you! I blame it all on an awesome trainer :)

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  5. Weeeeeeee sounds super exciting. I am delighted to hear that all is going so well - you guys look awesome ☺☺☺

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  6. Beautiful! Your trainer sounds like a gem. Paddy looks so fancy!

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    1. I am VERY lucky to have found her - she really works well for me and Paddy. :)

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  7. SO COOL, and what a wonderful trainer you are working with! You look great :)

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  8. Dressaging indeed! You guys look great :)

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  9. I'm starting to have those moments with Courage occasionally where you're so connected that you feel like one creature. It really makes all the hundred of walk transitions leading up to it feel worthwhile.

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    1. Patience and practice really do pay off. Who knew?

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    1. Dressage all the things, amiright?

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  11. awesome!! your trainer's voice is so soothing too - i like her point of 'when you give the reins it's just an exhale with your arms' (or something like that?). so exciting that everything is coming together so well!!

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    1. I swear she could talk anyone off a cliff - which is good, because I tend to get frustrated. And there are definitely some gems in that short clip - I especially like the part where she says "he's taking over" and you can totally see him lose the connection and speed up. It's SO helpful for me to see that in the video and hear what she had to say - like a mini lesson on repeat!

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  12. Yes!
    That is the stuff of dressage magic. Your trainer sounds awesome.

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    1. Dressage magic, that's exactly it! :)

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  13. You guys are getting some gorgeous moments together!

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    1. There are more and more and for longer and longer. SO exciting!

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