Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lesson Day

Gayle came up to give us, and our neighbor, lessons this morning.  The weather was supposed to be sunny and warm.  Instead it was overcast and cool.  It was perfect for riding, but a bit chilly for sitting around watching.

Brett spent a couple of hours yesterday getting the arena perfect.  He shoveled all the sand that had mounded up close to the rail back into the center.  Then he groomed it with the tractor.  It looked gorgeous; almost too pretty to ride on.  Almost.

Gayle hit some traffic on her way up so was delayed.  I used the extra time to practice braiding Winston's mane.  I got about half of it done, experimenting with fat braids and skinny braids.  Fat braids definitely look better. 

Gayle worked us hard.  I was up first (on the pristine arena footing: woo-hoo!) followed by Brett.  Here's some video with pieces of our lessons.

Jeanine and Calibar went last.  They worked on lunging technique.  Calibar is a bit out of shape after being off a few months so they took it easy on him.

After the lessons were over, Brett fired up the BBQ.  Gayle stayed for lunch and my friend, Heather, was up for the day as well.  We ate our burgers and tried to decide if the weather was getting warmer or colder. 

Brett and I were both very pleased with our lessons.  We learned a lot, we progressed, our horses progressed, and we are all tired and sore.  That includes the horses who rolled in the dirt after we hosed them off.  They stood, heads down, covered in mud, dozing.  Brett's asleep in his recliner and I'm headed to the couch.


  1. Great video Annette. My goodness, Winston was being a pillock with his trot/walk/trot trans! It's great when you work through it and win, though!
    Brett & Mufasa look so good together, that horse was a REAL find.

  2. What fun! I really miss lessons like these sometimes. My lessons now focus almost entirely on me and very little on Harley. Wouldn't you know, he gets better and better as my position and my awareness of my position improve? I wish I had these types of (Connected Riding) lessons when I first started taking dressage lessons as a teenager.

    So I really want to share this with you, because your video had so much about bend and more leg. The horse must lift the inside of his body in order to bend and turn correctly. This is absolutely necessary for self-carriage. The more inside leg that you use, the more you will collapse to the inside. This is involuntary in the rider when strong leg pressure is used. I do the same thing.

    Collapsing to the inside, presses the horse's inside down, which makes it difficult (or impossible) to bend and turn correctly. You mentioned in the video how difficult the smaller canter circle was? This is because Winston needed to lift the inside even more for that smaller circle. If you use quick taps with the dressage whip instead of your inside leg and thinking of growing taller in your ribcage to the inside, this can make a dramatic difference in forwardness and the ease of transitions, bend, and turns in all three gaits. Some of the fussing from Winston may have been his way of saying that he was trying, but he did not have a place to lift into. My teacher makes me rotate my torso to the outside of the circle when I start to collapse. This immediately makes the rider straight and my horse bends and carries himself when I am straight with very little aiding. It is shocking and wonderful at how easy it can be. This is why I share this with you, not to point out mistakes or criticize your ride. Winston is clearly very talented and intelligent. I expect that he would show you a difference very quickly.

  3. Thanks for sharing the video! I know it's a lot of work, but it sure helps when you have time to review it. I also miss having lessons...Gayle's instructions were very familiar. Both you and Brett are really coming along as are the horses...two perfect matches.

  4. Oh what fun and everyone looks like they are working hard and succeeding! YAY! I love private (or semi private) lessons like this....helps a TON!


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