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