Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lesson With Katy: 1

This afternoon was my first lesson with Katy Personius.  When she arrived, Winston and I were hanging out in the dressage court.  I told Katy about Winston's recent racing backwards and about my lack of confidence.  She suggested that I lunge Winston first so she could see how we work together and get a feel for his personality.

No drama there.  I took Winston over to the mounting block, took a deep brave breath and got on.  As we walked into the arena, Winston stopped and I felt the backward energy coming.  ...and guess what I was doing?  Choking him with the reins; channeling my fear into a death grip.  Katy had me completely release and ask him to go forward.  He did.  I was inadvertently taking his nervousness and escalating it into fear.  My bad.


We played follow-the-leader next, walking behind her.  Winston felt comfortable following and I practiced letting go of the contact.  He needs to move from my seat.  I know that in my brain; I just forgot to tell my gut.

 Katy focused on my position.  A lot.  My two biggest, consistent-my-whole-riding-life, challenges are (1) keeping my eyes up and (2) keeping my elbows bent and at my side.  I tend to look down at Winston's head or shoulder (same idea as driving a car - you look ahead at the road, not down at your hands).


Katy wants to start working with us on the basics.  We will focus on getting a regular tempo, on my position, on riding from my seat and not worry about contact until Winston stops worrying about it.  He's only six -- a teenager -- and he's a teenager with attitude.  I like how Katy works with Winston-tude.  She advised that I ignore his head tossing and get him to bend around my leg by using leg pressure; not by pulling his head around.  I like her approach.  Winston has beautiful gaits and carries himself in a lovely frame.  I don't want to mess that up.


We were both happy at the end of the lesson.  I am very interested in progressing by becoming a better, more effective rider; and by developing Winston into a happy, healthy athlete.  We finished the lesson with a free walk...

...and I big thank you from me to Winston.  I won't be able to ride much this winter.  Work will limit my riding to weekends since the days are short.  I'm sure weather will wipe out some of the weekends.  So, we will work on our relationship and communication.



10 comments:

  1. It sounds like a very productive session - she seems to understand your horse and how he will work best. Glad you found her!

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  2. Good job I have not been on a horse in thirty years:) sad I know.Hug B

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  3. Sounds very promising. I am planning on doing in-hand work with my guys during the winter on the days when I don't ride for one reason or another. I'm hoping it'll build (their) trust & (my) leadership... fingers crossed!

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  4. Well done! Sounds like the new instructor is going to work out well. When in doubt, go back to the basics! Love the last picture. :D

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  5. Now you know what i meant by "pulling a "vlad" littauer" LOL riding forward is also a blessing as a training aid :)

    By the end, you can tell how much both of you relaxed into each other - what a beautiful team you two make!

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  6. Winston is such a beauty! I think you are so wise to get advice and work on the basics!

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  7. What always amazes me, is how much better I can ride, and how my confidence soars, when I'm riding with a respected and knowledgeable instructor. You two look good together, and Winston looks very happy at the end! "Perfect practice makes perfect". RH :)

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  8. I love how you always get help and guidance in your endeavors

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  9. winston is maturing nicely! It sounds like a great lesson.

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  10. The thing I have learned about taking dressage lessons is that it's not easy. Separating our body parts and teaching them individually to do what we tell them...well, it's just not easy. I have good days and "not so good" days, but I persevere because I love riding my horse and want to keep improving. Onward!

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.