New avenues - first year on the dressage team! - Page 3

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New avenues - first year on the dressage team!

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    11-20-2011, 09:19 PM
Ok, I'll see what I can do!
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    12-02-2011, 06:36 PM
Lesson #8!

It was sort of a messy, yet fun, lesson. I was on Molly again. And I realized that I'm so focused on everything else I have to be doing that sometimes I forget about my leg aides. I'm thinking about keeping my hands down, about shortening the outside rein, about the right diagonal, about the pattern I'm riding, about turning my head the way I'm turning before the turn, about staying centered, about keeping my heels down. By the time I've thought about all of those things, I've forgotten to, say, use the inside leg to help push Molly out to the outside. Also, I've come to rely on the whip a tad too much when riding Molly. She doesn't want to go to trot or canter, so I got used to just tapping her instead of asking with the leg first. So sometimes, she was cantering when I just wanted her to trot. But I think I've come a long way since the beginning of the semester, when I didn't even know the meaning of "leg aides."

But we did do a lot of cantering today, and our instructor told us that both of us were doing a lot better than last time. I was able to stay balanced better. Also, I was bouncing too much at the beginning, but then our instructor told me to not be so stiff through the hips, to keep myself balanced by not letting my outside shoulder go back too much, and to let myself rock back a little bit. Once I remembered that, it was fantastic. Molly is a quick little pony, and when she starts to canter, the whole world falls away. I love the dressage team, but I also can't wait to jump. Hopefully I can trade barn work for lessons this summer. I need to have a job so I can pay for my dressage team lesson block during the school year, and it would be nice if I didn't have to pay for summer lessons. Maybe then I could jump! I did jump when I was in 8th grade, but only a few times.
    12-13-2011, 04:37 PM
Lesson #9, last lesson of the semester!

Not much to say for this one. On Molly and cantering for the third lesson in a row. This time, we got to ride 20-meter circles at the canter. We did some more complex patterns this time. For some reason, I kept forgetting what the next step in the pattern was. Usually I can remember them pretty well.

The dressage team had a formal get-together in the evening. I'm so happy to have found such a great group of girls! Now I'm attempting to study for finals and all I can think about is riding. I may have found somewhere to take lessons over the summer, if the parents will let me. And as soon as I get back from break, I'll be working even harder to eat healthy and exercise so that maybe I'll get chosen to ride in a show during the spring. Also hoping to pick up some field boots over break with the Christmas money.

I won't be writing for 4 or so weeks, because I won't be riding over the holiday break - the only bad thing about break! :(
    02-17-2012, 11:59 AM
Forgot to write about my first lesson of the new semester, but here's the second!

Instead of riding at 8 AM on Fridays, I'm now riding at 8 PM on Thursdays. I woudln't mind that time if it weren't during the new season of 30Rock! I have usually been riding Molly, but yesterday I got to ride a completely new horse: Rocco. He's big compared to Molly, who's a little pony just big enough for me. Rocco was also sort of stangely conformed, so he had a bouncier canter than I was used to. But I was having a lot of trouble with his transitions. He really didn't want to canter from the trot, but he was more sensitive to the aides than Molly, so if you tried to use a crop on him, he'd just take off. Our coach talked about using inside leg, then raising the outside arm, to get him to canter. She suggested grabbing a handful of mane, and by the end, it was getting a bit easier. But I still couldn't get him to transition just when I wanted him to, so I think I got a little frustrated at times and forgot what else I was doing. It made me mess up my pattern sometimes. I don't think I'll be going to the first show. But maybe the next one a few weeks after that. I was also told for perhaps the first time to lengthen the reins a bit so that I could bend my elbows when I ride. We also did some standing at the trot, and I was having trouble keeping my balance. I don't remember having that much trouble last semester. But oh well...we're still just starting off the semester and I'm sure it'll all get better!
Ray MacDonald likes this.
    02-25-2012, 03:24 PM
Lesson #3 of the new semester - 12 total since the beginning of fall semester!

This lesson was a LOT better than last week's. I was back on Molly. I'm used to her but she's still tough at times. I had to readjust to her quick step, but I had a much easier time with transitions between gaits than I did with Rocco - even without using the crop sometimes. Coach commented "I think Molly likes you." I think so too. What a cute little pony! I think I'm getting a lot better at the canter, although I did almost lose a stirrup, which meant my leg position isn't steady enough yet. Also another thing I improved on is not falling forward when transitioning downward from canter to trot, or trot to walk. I tend to lean forward when I make those transitions, but when I do that, I get thrown off balance. I'm trying to remind myself to lean back a little.

We're working on standing in the stirrups at the trot and I sometimes lose balance but am getting better. We're also doing some patterns - I think we're going to ride some actual dressage tests next lesson. What I do is focus too much on the movement I'm doing right now that I forget to give the horse a clear cue of where we need to go next. I need to be thinking ahead a little more, because this will be important when actually riding tests in a show.
    03-02-2012, 01:04 PM
Lesson #4 of the semester - 13th lesson total!

I had a pretty good lesson. I was on Rocco, the horse I had trouble on 2 weeks ago. But this issues! I felt a lot better about what I did. Mainly we worked on riding the official Intro B dressage test, which is what they have riders ride in IDA shows. What I have to work on is knowing where I want the horse to go before we get there and giving it clear cues. If I don't do that, some horses - especially the lazier ones - tend to just go wherever they feel like going when you're not giving them directions. I feel like I did that much better this week. Also, I sort of won the award for best free walk. The other two girls weren't letting the reins out the whole way and not quick enough. At least that's what our instructor said to me. But for whatever reason, I had trouble telling if I was on the right diagonal with Rocco. Maybe because this is only the second time I've ridden him.

Then near the end we switched horses. There are 2 other girls who take lessons with me. It's a good learning experience because you have to readjust to a different horse's unique tendencies. When we switched, I got on Molly, the quick yet stubborn pony I usually ride. I felt I actually did better on Rocco, even though I'm more familiar with Molly. I didn't have any problems with my diagonal on Molly though - again because I'm used to her!

I really hope I get to be in a dressage show soon!

Also I wish I got to jump. I jumped a little bit back when I started riding, but just really low stuff. I'd like to get back to it. Maybe this summer when I take lessons at home!
    03-03-2012, 02:01 PM
Super Moderator
Glad all is going well with you. I sure wish you had some photos of these lessons, though!!
Ray MacDonald likes this.
    03-24-2012, 12:04 AM
I'll ask if they can take pics at the next lesson...

Lesson #5 of the semester - 2 weeks ago forgot to write!

I had a pretty decent lesson. Not much to report. We rode patterns and such.

Lesson #6 of the semester, 15th lesson total!

I was riding Sony, who is not my usual lesson horse. These days, I've been riding Molly. Our coach told me Sony is a lot more sensitive to the aides, so I can't kick her like I have to do with Molly. And this was true. For a while, I accidentally had my right rein shorter than my left, so when I pulled back to ask her to stop, she wouldn't stop and kept turning right. We rode the Intro B test in our lesson. Our instructor put poles down to make our large ring the size of the dressage ring. I did much better than the last time I rode that test, though my lesson buddy and I both had trouble visualizing what a really round circle would look like. I was getting it toward the end, though! Also, I did a lot better with keeping my heels down. Last time, I was losing stirrups almost every time I cantered. This time? Only once. And of course, Sony not being the stubborn little pony Molly was, it was easy to get her to canter so the transitions were better overall. My lesson buddy and I are going to ask the instructor if, for our last lesson of the semester, we can jump some basic crossrails or something. It's been forever since I jumped and I miss it! Also I have to make some calls to see where I can ride over the summer.
    04-21-2012, 02:57 PM
I am so sorry I haven't written in quite a while!

Lessons are going well. I know I missed telling you all about 2 or 3. I believe this is lesson #10.

Last lesson I rode Sony. The previous 2 lessons, I rode horses who are much more sensitive than I'm used to: Tommy and Spice. You barely even have to touch them to get them to canter. Spice, in fact, is so bad that if you touch her with your leg and DON'T mean for her to canter, she probably will anyway. It taught me that I'm using too much leg sometimes. But anyway, Sony is a more moderate horse. She's not overly sensitive like Tommy or Spice, but she's not like Molly who you can kick and kick and she won't budge. Sony transitions pretty easily, but won't freak out if you squeeze her a little. I like that I'm being moved around to more different horses lately. It's a learning experience. Tommy and Spice are more advanced horses, so that must mean our instructor thinks I'm getting better! Anyway, the lesson this week went pretty well. I'm doing much better with keeping my heels down and having good form when cantering. That's mostly what we worked on.

I may have found a place to ride over the summer. They teach dressage AND jumping, which would be perfect for me, as I hope to get into eventing one day.

Also, found a used black velvet show helmet at the local tack shop, but it looks like new, and it was a heck of a deal, and it fits right, so we bought it.
    04-21-2012, 03:07 PM
Also will be taking some pictures next lesson!
Ray MacDonald likes this.

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