After almost 2 years of not having any instruction and just doing my own thing, because my last trainer burned me out with the need to win every show and not-so-awesome teaching style (that I realized towards the end), I rode in my first lesson last night with a new trainer. New trainer is a dressage judge & USDF bronze medalist - and she's GREAT!
Beau & I have been showing all year and have been doing very well, but he's still not in that great of shape - riding in circles in the backyard and doing two 4-minute dressage tests is one thing, a 45-minute private lesson that made us WORK is another ;)
We trailered out to her place and her BEAUTIFUL super-bright (think runway!) indoor arena - Beau settled in right away, which surprised me to a degree.
First thing we worked on was his walk - taking it from his short, little, QH stride to a "sexy panther walk". He started to really swing after a few minutes, which is GREAT, we always struggle with the walk.
We worked on getting his trot really forward and then she had me slow down my posting to slow his stride while encouraging him to take longer strides. We did 20m spiral circles to work on his habit of popping his outside shoulder out when bending. We worked on flexion since he's a bit stiff in his right jaw and straightness since his hindquarters tend to come in on the long sides. The whole time she had me encouraging him to lift his back.
For the canter work we worked on transitions into the canter from a forward, light trot and then once in the canter we worked on bending through the rib cage.
As a rider, she had me think "relaxed" the entire time - I do tend to hold with my thighs and even knees, to a degree. So I was all about calves, calves, calves. I also need to work on my elbows - she said I "ride like an eventer"... which makes sense, haha. I have "chicken wings". See?
My trainer likes Beau, though he's a QH and doesn't have super fancy movement - he TRIES! He'll attempt to do almost anything you ask of him and she said he has the capability to go First Level, which is my goal for him :) His hocks were up under him by the end of the lesson, instead of trailing out behind him. At the end of the lesson, I didn't have much of a horse left - he was absolutely exhausted and when I woke up this morning, WOW! Are my legs sore! But, that's a good thing, we worked hard and can't wait for next week's lesson!
Ok, now I'm done celebrating