Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Metamorphoses: Caffeinated Deer Finds His Inner Horse

This past weekend was the most my favorite dressage judge had seen me trot in awhile.  Typically in our lessons we don't get that far because she is too busy fixing us at the walk.  She rapidly pointed out a couple of major problems I have.  I like to ride with my hands in my lap, I don't know when this habit developed, but it causes me to ride very backwards.

Backwards riding

When my hands get in my lap and I start pulling backwards to maintain contact, we get the above picture.  As my favorite dressage judge said, I need to keep my reins short enough that I always feel like my hands are going forward.  It sounds quite simple, but the reality is Stinker has a very long neck and can retract it to a very short neck very very very rapidly.  I struggle with being quick enough to shorten my reins when his head pops up and then lengthen them again when he stretches out and so on as the cycle continues.  But when I do manage to get things right he looks good.  Like an actual dressage horse.

Dressage horse, when rider remembers to ride

Unfortunately those moments are few and far between right now.  But it is nice to know it is in there and I can find it under saddle.  I have seen it on the lunge line, but getting it when I am riding has been tough.  Hopefully, we can keep maintaining for the next month.  And there might be some promising news on the moving front soon.
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14 comments:

  1. I have the same issue with my reins- I want to get Carmen to stretch but I have to trust what she does with the extra freedom of the rein. Why does riding need to be so hard? You both look great in that photo.

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    1. Riding seems so simple but it's so complicated to execute sometimes. And thanks :)

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  2. Love love love the second photo! I ride with my hands in my lap a lot too, so I can totally feel your pain. Such a hard habit to break!

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    1. You would think I would utilize my monkey arms instead of trying to make them T-Rex arms.

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  3. aw he looks great! sounds like a fantastic lesson and it must be so reassuring to see that your work is shining through!

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    1. It is nice even if it was approximately for the one stride. But at least it is in there somewhere.

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  4. Ah, the magical saddlebred neck. He looks really great in that second photo!!

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    1. So magical. It should be a magic trick. The disappearing neck ­čśé

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  5. It's all about getting to string the good moments closer and closer together.

    I'll tell you when I get there, haha.

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    1. Ah yes the elusive stringing them together and consistency.

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  6. Those photos really show the extremes, the second one looks awesome! I totally understand and commiserate with the rapid neck retraction. Kachina totally does that too. My trainer has also recommended that I ride with shorter reins and extend my arms out when I need to follow her stretching, but keep the reins short so I can have my hands in a reasonable location if she retracts.

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    1. Thank you! It is amazing how quickly they can change the length of their neck.

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  7. The last dressage lesson I took consisted of a lot of, "Hand further forward. Forward. More forward." Whoops. Love the difference between the two photos! Wow!!

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    1. It seems so simple and yet my brain just doesn't want to execute it correctly

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