Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Finally Taking Lessons Again!

I feel like the title is pretty self-explanatory... haha. As I already covered in the Getting to Know Me and Jack be Quick posts, I haven't had much in the way of formal lessons. My dressage education to date has consisted of a handful (maybe 20?) lessons in 2012/2013 with the talented Lucy Fuelle (not only is she an amazing rider/trainer, she's also crafty!), and then a handful of clinics and lessons here and there. I've been wanting to get back in a regular lesson program for a while, but life has consistently thrown curveballs at me for the last year or so, so I kept putting it off.

Pas de deux someday? :)
Last night was the first (of hopefully many!) lessons! We trailered up to a big arena and I had a group lesson with Jacki. It was a really good experience -- we swapped on and off so while Jacki was receiving instruction, Ruby and I took walk breaks, and vice versa. I'm still working on Ruby's fitness after having most of the winter off (and then a lazy owner this spring), so that was a good format for us so that neither of us got overwhelmed. The instructor was able to isolate some of my problem areas right off the bat and give me specific exercises to improve them, and I could already feel a difference in Ruby just from the beginning to the end of the lesson.
Left leg, what are you doing?

The instructor had a lot of really good things to say, and a few of them really stuck in my brain. The most important one (well, to me anyway), was that training is a balance of pushing horses out of their comfort zone to teach them new concepts, but then returning to their comfort zone to apply them and see how effective we'd been in the teaching. If you spend all your time in the comfort zone, you never advance. If you push too much outside the comfort zone, you lose your horse's trust and you're going to have trouble teaching them new concepts.
God bless this horse for putting up with my shit. Hands, get with the program!
One of the things I worked on last night was letting Ruby find her own balance, instead of creating it for her (especially with my outside rein). Both of the horses I've trained mostly on my own struggle with the concept of right bend -- so obviously the problem is with me, and not the horses. So last night after isolating that as one of my issues, the instructor had me do some exercises using just my inside rein to create the bend, and "floating" my outside rein. It was a struggle for me, because I really wanted to pick it up and "fix" the problem, but that obviously hasn't done me any favors so far, and the farther Ruby gets in her training without understanding that she is responsible for balancing herself, the worse the problem is going to get. Obviously it wasn't a one-lesson fix, but we definitely made progress, and I can continue to work on the exercises in between lessons to continue teaching Ruby to carry herself (much less strain on my arms, right? haha).
OK, so this wasn't awful.

Those are just highlights obviously -- I'm going to cut the rambling short so I can quickly edit a few photos and get this posted. I planned to devote a lot more time to writing tonight, but I have to go with my mom up to the animal hospital (one of her cats has cancer and has taken a downhill turn, so I'm going with her for the euthanasia), so this will have to do for tonight. I have another lesson next week, so there will be more rambling then!
Finally a decent trot picture to the right!

No comments:

Post a Comment