I've been riding for about 3 years (consistently, with my own horse - not just random 'guided trail rides' at public facilities, which I used to do). Been taking lessons from an "all around" instructor who has really helped me overcome a lot of my hang-ups while riding. My goal is to ride dressage proficient enough to show at upper-levels successfully one day. Not necessarily Olympics or anything, but eventually do the best my horses and I physically can! I recently decided I REEAAALLLLY want to step up my game and start taking lessons with a qualified, experienced and successful dressage trainer/instructor, so I called a woman whom I spoke to at a horse expo that had performed a few demos and had a booth. She's riding/training/instructing Grand Prix.
We spoke on the phone and I told her my goals: improve my seat and better my riding skills (all around) while learning the art of dressage. I really want to climb the incline of dressage levels as best I can! I also told her my fears and issues: my mare bolted with me when I first bought her (her "You suck as a rider but I'm too nice to buck or rear" notification, I realized - I'm a HUGE fan of "There are no problem horses, only problem riders", btw). I have only begun cantering again in the last 6 months, and none of those times has been on my mare. She apparently thinks the bit is just a suggestion when she's doing anything above a trot. Considering slapping a training bit on her, but when I first bought her she head tossed terribly, and I insisted on using nothing more than the show accepted snaffle. She only tosses her head when she is confused or upset (like when I've allowed other people to ride, especially people who think that man-handling her into submission is the "trick" she needs when she isn't listening to them). Needless to say, I've asked people to remove themselves from my horse before. We worked long and hard to get that nasty habit of hers gone. We've come a ways, but I can't help but thinking that with more tricks up my sleeve with my own riding abilities, my mare has the potential to become much more. About 14 years ago I took lessons and had progressed to cantering before financial reasons made my parents take me out of riding lessons
New instructor's plan: start me on a lunge line for a 45 minute lesson, w/t/c. While I'm super excited (I know there are TONS AND TONS AND TONS of benefits to the exercises you can do on a lunge, including improving balance, seat, position and ability to move with the horse), I'm also very nervous. I've been taking lessons consistently for about 2 solid years and have only been on a lunge-line on my own mare, for a few minute to do some leg exercises. I'm really nervous about not having reins! I've asked my current instructor and other friends who are more experienced riders and they all say that I don't hang on my horses face or anything - it's not that I need them to balance myself... I just don't like not having control of the horse that I'm ridings head! I suppose I blame it on my mare bolting... sooooooo, I will be sucking it up because I'm wayyyyy too excited to be working with her! Any tips/preparation anyone wants to throw my way? I'm having my hubby video tape my mare and I shortly so I can analyze myself from a "ground" perspective.
So anyhow, I'm very excited, but also very nervous. I'm sure everything will work out beautifully - she has an excellent schooling horse who's canter she says is flawless right out of a walk, sooooo that's comforting. By the way, I also took my first tumble off of a horse about 1.5 months ago (fell off a pony when I was 8, but that doesn't really count, does it?). We were cantering, I lost my stirrups and he quickly dropped to a uncharacteristic fast/choppy trot and I just bounced right out of the saddle: right after saying "Wow, cantering is actually..." (I bounced off HERE), the rest of my sentence was going to be "easier without stirrups - I can't brace!" Pffft... oops. I was fine, I laid in the sand cracking up while my friend gathered her horse up for me, laughing (he looked over his shoulder after dropping to his normal SMOOOOOOOTH trot and ran straight to his mom, haha).