This video was pretty rough for me (Ignore the first four minutes I was having video editing issues). I was struggling with my confidence (Long story short, someone cracked a joke about Stinker needing a professional ride and while I knew it was a joke, my feelings were hurt and my confidence took a hit). I always struggle with having confidence in my riding, which is why I am so dependent on lessons (and careful about who I ride with). They give me the boost that I need. Needless to say D gave me the boost I needed with this.
The list went out the window, because I was firmly on the struggle bus. But what is on the list is below:
30 Minutes Total
15 Minutes Trot
4 Three Loop Serpentines with 15 m circles at the midline
4 Lengthen Trots on 20 m circle (lengthen one half bring back other half)
1 One Loop Serpentine each direction
1 Leg Yield Each Direction at the Trot
15 Minutes Canter
Canter entire arena with 20 m circles at A and C and 15 m circles at E and B
4 Canter to Trot Transitions on the diagonal with the transition at X
As I mentioned above, this ride was pretty rough (I almost didn't post this lesson, but in the interest in full disclosure I am sucking it up and posting.) I felt like we only had choppy mode or canter mode. Everything just felt horrible and I wasn't riding well. So feel free to skip the video (I am really hoping you do). :)
I was not able to follow the program, but I did try to keep my reins shorter and give him a ceiling with the draw reins. I think I did on ok job on that. I also think I did a fairly decent spilt between the canter and trot work.
I have been struggling with the trot. My thoughts on why I have been struggling are: A) He is no longer happy in S's dressage saddle (I am quite confident this is an issue now). B) He has decided that cantering is easier than trotting. C) It is something that I am doing that makes him think I want to canter. I did notice that when I was on the incorrect diagonal, he wasn't trying to canter as much.
This might be a little disjointed, because we did more back an forth than usual. The summery of our conversation was I am a chicken shit. Not really, but I need to not be afraid to canter when he gets like this. The more I try to trot the more frustrated he gets. And I need to remember to just keep riding and to have faith in myself. I am so worried that I am going to create bad habits that I do nothing and it is actually worse than anything I do.
D encouraged me to let him canter it out. I don't totally agree with this, because he is the freaking energizer bunny and just keeps going and going. Every time I try to do this, I end up with a horse that is drenched in sweat and still trying to canter. I do agree with I need to get him forward and then bring him back and then forward and back, until he gets his head in the game and is willing to play with me. It all comes back to the mental game with him.
Another thing that D pointed out was the fact that he was completely locked on the right side. I never noticed it (oops). In my rides since then I focused on loosening that up and I think it has helped greatly. I also really need to work on my half halt and remember to breathe. I have a tendency to tense and stop breathing. This makes him anxious which feeds into the cycle I am trying to break with the half halt. If I tighten my core and continue to breathe, he will respond as desired.
Another big point, was I need to get over my fear of making mistakes. They are going to happen no matter what and I just need to take a leap a faith and go over the cliff. And right now the only way I am going to learn is if I make some mistakes. (Damn overachiever side of me cringes at this.)
Everything listed at the beginning is still on there, but I am also to add in spiral in and out on circles. I really need to focus on the out part and use this to help supple him. I can bring him back into the slow trot (almost a walk) for this if necessary. The goal is to get him heavy in my outside rein. When that happens I can take him off the circle. As soon as he starts to get heavy on the inside, he goes back onto the circle.
Despite my initial frustration with this ride, we did have our good moments. D pulled this picture out of the video and I love him in it. Yes we do have improvements to make but compared to where we were I love it. Although as one of my non horsey friends said when she saw the picture, "Dat ass!" I really need to get my butt in line and not do my weird perching thing. PS sorry no gifs, because I still mostly want to pretend this video didn't happen.