New avenues - first year on the dressage team!

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New avenues - first year on the dressage team!

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    10-02-2011, 02:36 PM
New avenues - first year on the dressage team!

This is a pre-emptive post. I don't have my first dressage lesson until Thursday.

But the fact that I'm posting this already just shows how pumped I am. Haven't had a lesson in 6-7 years, and wow, I miss it. I'm never giving up riding for marching band again. I've never done dressage before. In fact, there are a lot of things I haven't done before. I'm grateful to be on the team. If any of you don't know, I tried out for Penn State's Equestrian Team (the hunters/jumpers) but didn't make it, probably due to the huge numbers of people who try out. But the dressage team is small and much newer, so they said I could ride.

My new breeches have arrived at my college dorm. I'm home for the weekend, so I won't get to put them on for another few hours (heading back up today). I had some back in 7th-8th grade, but they don't fit anymore. Believe it or not, they're actually too big. I haven't grown any taller, and I actually lost weight since then. Even better, I bought some new field boots off eBay - the ones with the zip back. Going to wait to see if I actually get to show to buy all the show clothes - need a dressage coat, a stock collar and pin, a hair net with the bow on the back, and a velvet helmet cover. Why didn't I just buy a velvet helmet in the first place? Why is mine blue? Oh yeah, because I was 13 when I bought it and was like "Daddy, I like the blue one!" Smart thinking.

It'll probably be tough getting back at first. I've even forgotten what 2-point means, and posting will probably tire me out for a while. But I'm not one to give up. If I was, I would have just thrown in the towel once I heard I didn't make the hunt/jump team. Lesson next Thursday at 3...I'll write all about it of course!
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    10-02-2011, 03:25 PM
Super Moderator
Well, as soon as I get to the post office and get a shipping envelope, you will have a pair of show breeches in the mail. I'm glad I have a few extra pairs! So, unless they end up not can scratch those off any list.


Oh, and it isn't the rising trot you need to start worrying is the SITTING trot!! MWAHAHA!!!!
    10-02-2011, 07:47 PM
Absolutely! Had to get a pair of breeches to practice in, too.

And oh yeah...posting is not dressage...I have a lot of learning to do.
    10-06-2011, 08:00 PM
So, lesson was today!

I felt less enthusiastic and excited about my lesson when I woke up today than I did yesterday, but only because yesterday was such a bad day. My field boots that I ordered off eBay didn't fit, even though I measured my foot and bought the size I'd tried on in the store. And the zipper to the neoprene zip case for my Macbook stopped working, so I can't zip it up; I have to leave the case open when I put my laptop in my backpack. I had placed my backpack by my bed and was getting my laptop out when it started to fall out of its case. I reached for it so fast I whacked my eye on the bedpost and now have a red mark near my eyebrow.

But once 2:30 rolled around, I was ready to ride! Good thing I still have my paddock boots and half chaps. It was a pretty easy drive there. The barn was nice, neat, and clean. I got put on a horse named Violet, who was a pinto - or could have been a paint, looked Quarter Horse-ish to me. I definitely needed a refresher course on grooming and tacking horses, though I did remember the curry comb takes circular motions.

But I did decently once I actually got on Violet. She was a lot more willing to trot than Impy, the horse I rode at my old barn. Our instructor had us posting (it was a group lesson - we had 3 people this time but are going to break it up into 2 and 1 next time) rather than sitting trot. I guess we'll get to REAL dressage once we get some more experience. At first I had a hard time figuring out if I was on the right diagonal, but when I was correct, it just felt...right. I don't know how else to describe it other than that. The horse's motion naturally helps lift you out of the saddle.

And I don't remember my first instructor at the old barn telling me this 6 years ago (maybe she did but hey, I was in 8th grade), but I got a lot of practice with turning - whenever you pull one of the reins, you squeeze with the opposite leg. It was an "aha" moment when the instructor told me, "You're not doing anything wrong, but you're not riding the horse as much as you should be right now." After I knew that, I did a lot better. I admit I had some trouble staying up and centered in the posting trot when we went over some poles on the ground, but I improved by about the 6th time I did it.

All in all, my grand return to riding was just about all I expected and wanted it to be. I'm not as rusty as I thought originally, but I have a ways to go before I'll be riding dressage tests. But I'm here to learn. Our team instructor is wonderful, and very forgiving, yet lets you know what to do. And I'm happy that the other girl who will be sharing my lesson spot is an almost exact match with me as far as skill and experience. It was a good day. MUCH better than yesterday. But I don't want to have to walk up any stairs for the next few days
    10-06-2011, 08:37 PM
Green Broke
Sounds like it went very good! Congrats!
    10-06-2011, 09:13 PM
    10-06-2011, 09:23 PM
Super Moderator
No photos?? No photos??????
    10-07-2011, 01:12 AM
Oh...yeah. Forgot about photos...
    10-16-2011, 03:41 PM
Lesson #2!

Lesson, which was at 3 PM on Thursday, got moved to 8 AM on Friday. I'll take it because it may be the only way I can take lessons with the team this year, but it's a bit too early. Oh well. We did a lot more patterns: riding over poles, doing serpentines and 20-meter circles at a posting trot. At first I was cutting my serpentines short a little - I was turning too early. But then our coach told me to hug the wall a little longer and it was a lot better. I was surprised I could hold myself up better over the poles without falling on the horse's neck, and could adjust to the altered trot, too. I also caught on pretty well to changing my diagonals when I went through the serpentine. But I had quite a bit of trouble at keeping my heels down at the same time I squeezed the horse's body while going up during posting. That will get better as my leg muscles get stronger. We were in the roofed ring today because it was raining. When my lesson buddy and I rode back to the barn, hot and sweaty, it started pouring. It actually felt pretty good to end a lesson by just casually riding at a walk through nice cool rain.

Sometimes I realize my lesson isn't the most fun while I'm riding, but I sure feel good once it's over, because I was glad to have done it. I think it's because I'm out of shape, riding-wise, and get out of breath and sore. However, I wasn't nearly as sore after this lesson as I was after last. A week ago, I couldn't even walk up stairs. I think it will be a good year
    10-17-2011, 08:03 PM
Green Broke
I never squeeze when I am rising in the trot. I always do it when I am down, you could try doing that.

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