Great Expectations

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

Night off (for Dancer)…

Posted by mandyhuckins on April 17, 2009

Last night, I decided to give Dancer the night off.  I started thinking that she might have been acting up because of soreness. I was gone for a week and I found out that she was only ridden once in my absence.  Plus, I had a lesson to teach and I really needed to ride Jack. 

The lesson was with my young rider.  I was so surprised to see her cantering around independently all over the arena one night this past week.  Before I left, she was still cantering on the lunge.  Maybe I should go away more often… Also while I was gone, she participated in a Hunter/Jumper show and won Grand Champion for her division!  Despite the success, she might have been progressing a little too fast….those dang diagonals are giving her a lot of trouble.  I told her before I would allow her to do much of anything else, she needed to prove to me that she could pick up the correct diagonal all most of the time.  So, I put her back on the lunge.  We did a lot of sitting trot work without stirrups and without reins.  Her balance is improving a lot.  We even tried posting without stirrups (difficult for everyone, even those of us whose legs are the size of a bird’s).  I re-explained the concept of looking at the pony’s outside shoulder.  I had her repeat up-out and in-down.  She could say “out…out…out” in time with the pony’s movement.  But, whenever I had her start posting and tell me if it was correct or not, she would get it wrong!  Sometimes she would start posting correctly, then I would hear her say “nope” under her breath, switch diagonals and then tell me “ok, it is correct.”  I would have her fix it back and then really watch the outside shoulder to try to get it right.  By the end of the lesson, it seemed like she might possibly have it.  We will see…Any riders out there have any suggestions?

My ride on Jack, the western quarter-horse we are trying to change into a dressage horse, was ok.  He is showing some definite improvement.  And, actually, although it feels rather choppy, when I glance in the mirror as I go by, he is moving quite well in the back.  He needs to always think forward, forward, forward to get that western training out of his mind.  Sometimes, he will come nicely into a frame, with a relaxed neck, vertical head and rounded back.  We will go that way for a while until I do something to upset him (change direction, squeeze with my leg or just breathe) and then he will throw his head straight up into the air.  Straight up!  His owner (a teenage girl) has been riding him in the Vienna training reins.  Maybe I should too – it would keep him from hollowing out like that.  I think I will give them a try next time.

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