Great Expectations

or “My Life in Blog Sounds Much Cooler Than It Really Is”

Count down to embarrassment…

Posted by mandyhuckins on March 19, 2009

So, as I mentioned, it rained for three straight days = no riding.  Luckily, I was able to ride last night (Tuesday).  Dancer felt very “springy” to me – I guess that means she had lots of impulsion.  She was also pretty strong and for some reason also kind of “spooky.”  She kept taking hard looks at things I couldn’t see (and knowing what her eyesight is like, she couldn’t either, I am sure!).  We had just finished moving all the jumps to the outside edges of the riding ring in order to put a dressage ring in the middle.  This was accomplished by carefully measuring the dimensions and then blocking it out with jump poles laid on the ground.  Then, we set out the letters.  So, I was already tired from all of the exercise by the time I got in the saddle.  And, maybe just the new layout of the arena was freaking Dancer out.  Anyway, I tried riding portions of the dressage test to practice the movements and it was ok.  She wasn’t really listening to me – rather just going through the motions.  Then, I tried riding the whole thing through – disastrous!  So, I decided to forget it and just schooled some circles and some transitions.  This resulted in the best left lead canter ever and some very nice border-line collected trot.  I called it a night after that.

When I arrived today, the young lady who is going to ride Louie in the show was very upset.  She had ridden him in the afternoon and she said that he was horrible.  So, I had her tack him back up so I could see what was going on and help her if I could.  He really was horrible!  I think he was really taking advantage of the fact that she is such a small person and he could ignore her at will.  If she wanted to turn left, he would go right.  If she wanted to trot, he would try to canter.  If she wanted to ride in a straight line, he would turn in to the middle.  Just horrible, horrible behavior.  So, I got on him.  He tried some of that BS with me, but I just pushed him through it.  I worked him until he was sweating and would trot in a straight line or on a circle.  Then, I had her get back up.  She did much better after he had his little reminder from me about good manners.  She is planning to ride him again tomorrow, but I am afraid she might want to back out of taking him to the show.  Honestly, I can’t blame her.   It really isn’t fair to put her on a green horse she hasn’t ridden and in a few days expect her to show him.   But, she needs show experience (this is just a schooling show after all) and he needs to get out there in front of people so that we can find him a new home, so I hope she will go through with it. 

I taught a lesson and then I hopped on Dancer for a little while.  Usually, when I am in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time to ride, Dancer is at her worst.  I am sure she can feel tenseness in me and responds accordingly.  But, tonight she was a jewel.  She came out in a good mood.  I could tell as soon as I asked her to walk and she was soft and stretchy.  So, I did a nice walk around the dressage ring a few times and really practiced riding into the corners and keeping her on my outside rein.  Then I did some shoulder-in and even to the left she was really good.  I even did some leg yields and they were (maybe not perfect), but much, much better than they have been.  Her trot was lovely – round and relaxed with lots of suspension.  Once she was warmed up, I did some 10 m figure 8s at the sitting trot, a few canters to the right and to the left, some transitions from trot to halt (not so great), some shoulder in, a leg yield and a few medium trots across the diagonal.  This last thing she did very well – transitioning so nicely back to working trot through the corner and short side of the arena.  I decided to call it a night!  Notice – I did not practice the actual dressage test.  I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly nice ride. 

Two more chances to ride before the show!

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