We have had two productive groundwork sessions and two productive rides. After a ten day break, Val was pretty up and distracted during the first session - boogeymen at the back of the property and all... Head up, barging around, not with me. Luckily I was having one of my more patient days. After a few sharp corrections + letting it go immediately, we got on the same page. I worked on Val moving his shoulders freely - especially turning away from me. By the end we were gelling. Today I had Val from the beginning - we concentrated on his hindquarters and finished with some clicker work. Let me just say, Val is a pro on treat related activities.
Next, a bareback ride. I was hoping to address my crookedness, and stretch out my hip and thigh. Yes, and yes. I did almost the whole ride on the buckle, and Val was moving like a little reining pony. Note to self: watch that you don't block with the reins, your horse maneuvers better when you don't really use them...
On Saturday we saddled up, and had absolutely our best ride ever. Our warm-up went smoothly, transition to contact as well. I took up the most contact ever so far, and my horse snorted out many thank you's throughout the ride. Can someone explain why I resist taking contact when it makes my horse feel so good?! He was relaxed and responsive, swinging his rear end. We've been building up our stamina too - more consecutive trotting, less resting. While our contact basically rocked, energy still has a ways to go, but we did keep it up up through the corners. Transitions were good. My focus in coming rides, will be generating forward without annoying Val with my aids.
Things were going so well that I thought I'd turn on the camera. While documenting rides is super helpful, I seem to lose some steam, and / or get self conscious, less relaxed. Around here, when people ask how the surf is, it's always like, "oh - you should have seen it yesterday." That's how I feel about videoing. The break I take to mess with the camera interrupts the momentum, and I always wish I'd had the camera on for the whole ride, but who wants to wait eight hours to upload? And no one wants to watch all that, including me. That said, I have some stills to share from the video I took Saturday - highlights if you will.
Thanks so much for all of the observations and constructive criticism of the videos I posted recently. I want to respond in general - I have a hip issue (old injury) that contributes heavily to the drawn up right leg / bracing against the iron. The right shoulder is bum too which likely doesn't help. My stirrup leathers are even, I rotate them periodically, and I check that my saddle is centered before I start my ride. I am always more even in the saddle when I ride bareback or drop my stirrups. I need to zone in on what happens when I give a leg aid on my right side - reviewing my videos has been helpful. So have your suggestions - very much so. Again, thank you.
Okay - so I had my first less than kind feedback. It went back and forth between harsh critique of my position and riding skills (repeating what I said in my post, but meaner) and numerous tried and true dressage rules - practically lifted verbatim from one of my favorite dressage master's books. I got the impression that the motivation behind it wasn't sincere helpfulness. Something didn't ring true. The commenter obviously had not bothered to read my post or the many thoughtful comments that preceded theirs, but jumped straight to the video. A click on the commenter's name revealed someone whose only profile information was that they had joined blogger in April, and had no profile views yet. On a whim, I looked up their curious screen name, the definition of which is a pejorative UK slang meaning "foolish incompetence." Welcome to the round file. :)