I had assumed that I wouldn’t be lessoning this week due to everyone being away at Champs. Turns out I was wrong. Coach D (G wife) was still around and so we lessoned. A private lesson. Just me and Tuck. So naturally I asked for a flat lesson because flat lessons are my jam.
I need all the help I can get making jam.
Mostly I wanted to work on lateral movements. Something the both of us could benefit from. I told D what I had been working on and that I wasn’t 100% sure I was asking for things correctly.
She started us on a 30 meter circle, right in the middle of the ring. No cheating fences to hold us up. She had me work on impulsion and inside bend. Ride inside leg to outside hand. You only want to see the corner of his inside eye. Don’t forget to keep using your outside leg to hold him on the circle.
If he starts to lean on your leg give a smack with the dressage whip. I’m not sure what it was about that comment from D, maybe it was the timing, but I all of a sudden understood what it meant for your horse to lean on your leg. I’m not entirely sure what pieces came together in the puzzle or what the picture looks like but I think lazy Tuck is in trouble.
Holding the same 30 meter circle she had me counter flex. Switch the aids. Outside leg to inside hand, making sure to only bend enough to see the corner of his outside eye. Keep using the inside leg to hold him out on the circle. Eye’s up! Keep looking ahead, around your circle. Duh moment = eye’s up help’s to stop him falling in and keeps your circle on the same 30 meter track. Who knew raising your eye was so important (please note the sarcasm)?!?!?!
Next she had us turn down the quarter line or centre line and pick up the counter canter. Each time around she’d have me try to hold it longer. I stress the word TRY.
So turns out this is something I need to work on now. Apparently Tucker has decided that lead changes are life. At most I could only get about 3 strides around a bend before he’d swap off. This from the horse that seemed to make it his mission this summer to give me at least one wrong lead a show.
D had us do a few turns on the haunches. This is what I really wanted help with. We’re sorting it out on our own. But having D on the ground directing us was really helpful. Halt, rock back on the haunches, open the inside rein, slight outside bend, outside leg to push him around. Having trouble? This would be the second duh moment of the evening. Abandon the slight outside bend and lead him a bit with the inside opening rein. So they weren’t perfect but these are definitely the best ones we’ve done yet. I can totally see where I’ve been going wrong and now have more confidence in working on them by ourselves.
The last exercise she had us work on was the spiralling in circle with a counter flex. Start on a 20 meter circle at a posting trot, with an inside bend to enforce the circle and going forward. When you hit the rail/start point ask for the outside bend. Keep posting. Don’t let him fall in, KEEP THOSE EYES UP. After a lap on the 20 meter circle, sit trot and spiral in to a 15 meter circle. Keep looking ahead. After a 15 meter lap, spiral in to a 10 meter circle. The first time through the exercise, once he was lifting through the 10 meter circle properly D had us follow the bend for a change of direction and rising trot to reinforce forward motion.
Things to remember when working on the spiral in: Keep your eye’s up and looking ahead. Don’t cross your hand over his neck. Don’t over bend. When your circle gets smaller start looking towards his haunches. Stay tall. No matter where you end in the exercise always follow the bend and GO FORWARD.
Have I mentioned how much I love my horse. That’s 2 for 2 rides this week where he’s been on the ball and forward.
What’s your favourite lateral movement and/or exercise to work on?