Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lesson Recap: Half Halts are Not Optional

Last Saturday, I had another lesson -- I am totally digging the weekly eyes on me and homework, and I hope I can keep it up throughout at least some of the winter! Obviously a lot will be at the mercy of the weather, but I have high hopes. DH couldn't come with me, he needed to return the trailer we had borrowed the night before to do hay, and also our grass was a bit out of control. I don't mind hauling there solo, but it is nice to have a captive audience to take photos, lol. Lucky for me, some of the super nice ladies I met at the show a few weeks back were there, and one of them took video! 

He needed to snuggle her before she got on the trailer, obvs. 

When we were discussing what I'd gotten done in the previous week before the lesson (not much, between the long weekend and then putting up hay, lol), I told her I really felt like the 10m circles tracking left were super attainable, but to the right the second half of my circle just... collapsed. So we dove right into that, did a few, then talked about what the issues were -- spoiler alert, mostly me. That right shoulder collapse is real, but also she does not respect my right leg nearly as much, and isn't responsive to the rein on that side/wants to lock her neck against me. My homework was more of the exercise introduced the week before, doing some leg yield, a 10m circle in the middle of the long side, and then resuming the leg yield. We were able to execute it reasonably well in the lesson, but it remains to be seen if I'll be able to get the same results at home, lol. I also need to exaggerate the bend a little bit tracking right until she's more comfortable staying where I put her. I know at home I can get the bend I want in the walk, but at the trot and canter, I start to ride the struggle bus. So, we'll keep on keepin' on and maybe by spring it'll look a bit different!

I actually had a pocket to shove my phone in today so I had it on me for the lesson at took this at the end lol.

I have some video clips of the canter down below, and it was really cool to see what it looks like! Sometimes to me it feels like she's super zoomy, but that isn't what it looks like AT ALL, so I need to retrain my brain a little. New trainer is starting to really hammer me (in a good way, I LIKE having this stuff picked apart so I do it better) on the transitions -- she reminded me today after a particularly botched transition from the trot to the canter that she KNOWS we know how to do the transition but that we need to do it better. The canter is so much nicer if I don't spend the first four or five strides trying to organize it. She got a little strong at the trot a few times and we had to have a little discussion about half halts -- at one point, new instructor said "you know I don't hate this trot but I'm also not sure you have a functional half halt in it" and I was like yeahhhhh she thinks my input is optional right now lol. So we had to get that squared away before we moved up to the canter!
Ruby was super amenable to just chillaxing in the aisle after lessons so I could have HORSE PEOPLE TIME and just hang out and chit chat. My soul needed that so badly. 

After the canter I was WHOOPED. I still had a few minutes left in my lesson, so I told her I'd like to work on centerlines. We haven't really done any in... actual years. And that was SUPER APPARENT during my first few attempts lol. But they got better, as long as I was really thinking forward even in the halt. I'm glad to start incorporating these again now, with plenty of time to polish them up before shows!

My garmin literally thinks I'm going to die like every lesson, haha. I am also endlessly amused it thinks riding the horses is an elliptical. 

She had to hang out for a minute while I ran my check back inside, and was very over my shit at this point. 

Enjoy the few videos, courtesy of one of the super nice ladies at the barn :) both she and another lady (who is a graphic designer currently helping me with the blog rebrand!) were both kind enough to hang out and watch my lesson, which was probably like watching paint dry for them because both of them have horses doing like 4th/PSG+ haha. But they both had really nice things to say about Ruby, which of course I loved, because I'm obsessed with her lol. I tried to pay it forward a bit by photographing them at the show a few weeks back and then snapping some candids in the aisle with my cell, and I'm sure once we get into fall and I don't mind tying Ruby to my trailer for a bit, I'll be able to hang out and watch more lessons and maybe take some photos for them!


  1. Ruby is such a beautiful horse. <3

    I am 100% not a dressage rider, but I can see some really nice moments in all of those videos, which are a testament to what a nice horse Ruby is, but also all of the work you've put in over the years. You've got some great foundation work you're starting off with and I can't wait to see things continue to improve from here.

    I'm with you, I like having homework and improving on that from week to week. I find riding to be a bit boring when I don't have specifics to work on.

  2. You both look really good. I love her rhythm.

  3. I'm just so excited that you found such a great fit with a trainer! You two are looking great! Also yay for having barn friends again, especially the type that will video for you! I lesson with Bellino on Thursdays with a little kid, and her mom is kind enough to video for me. I appreciate it SO much!

    1. It's such a nice feeling! Like yes it was convenient to have someone who could come out to my farm (and not spend 2.5 hours round trip driving lol) but this feels sort of like having an honorary barn family again and I really did miss that ❤️