Sunday, November 17, 2013

One step forward

And two steps back.

My last two lessons ended on decidedly different notes. 

After the first I was thinking Hey maybe I know something (anything?) and maybe we're getting somewhere on this whole dressage journey.   We were working on a 20m circle and really Theo had a nice powerful trot cooking along, I was sitting and felt connected for once..  Trainer had us throw in 10m circles to the center off the 20m and alternate between motoring off in trot and picking up the canter as we got back to our 20m circle.  It was neat.  Accuracy with canter transitions is not my forte, I'm happy to get one in a few strides.  All this circle-y stuff really helped us as we had to both stay super focused the whole time. 

(MS paint version of exercise)
Canter at the star.  This version = success!

And then, I rode this weekend.  We tried some new exercises, again with our friend the 20m circle, but it got trickier.  We were in sitting trot again, having our nice little motor rhythm, then spiraled in to a pretty small circle, I'd guess 8m, around trainer, then leg yield back out to big circle (all in trot).  This was going OK, we had some nice moments.  Then things went to hell.  The new task was spiral in, leg yield out to 15m circle around trainer and pick up canter and STAY on 15m circle.  Mind was blown, people.  Both mine and poor Theo's.  He's doesn't have a super balanced canter and trying to get him to stay on that smaller circle was not so doable.  It was like 15m for maybe half a circle then skitter skitter skitter Right past my outside leg - like blow right past it you're not stopping me lady kind of thing.  It was disheartening.  THEN we added in a ground pole, this did not help.  Theo loves to jump and I think he was getting pretty sick of my trying to thrust my amateur dressage on him. Instead of ground pole helping us get him to rock back on those hindquarters and balance it was more of Ohhh whee let's grab the bit in our mouth and vault, then take off excitedly in rushy rushy canter till rider can organize herself enough to get even a modicum of connection.  Not my finest moment, and frankly I Still am at a loss on what to do.  He gets very strong and I KNOW dressage riders are Not supposed to have sore arms so I feel pretty that's a pretty obvious failure.  It feels like he's pulling and leaning on me to help him balance, but I'm just not quite sure what to do about it.  Trainer says to just keep sitting still and resisting and no pulling back whatsoever, sit tall and use my core buttt.... nothing seems to be happening (or at least, it wasn't in that lesson). 

Exercise 2: Not successful
Black arrows at trot, spiral all the way in around disgruntled looking trainer, grey arrows leg yield out to 15 m circle and pick up canter at Star, attempt to canter 15m circle but instead careen out to orange line matching despairing trainers face.

Oliver says to stop whining and get back to studying.