Over the past several months she has taught us quite a bit of "stuff," and I've worked really hard to put it all together. I really wanted to impress her on Saturday and show her that Speedy and I aren't just a pair of goofballs. We are goofballs, but we have acquired a certain skill set that extends beyond our "dorkiness." With so much to prove, I was pretty nervous about the ride.
She quickly put me at ease by sitting on the mounting block and telling me to warm up like I will next weekend. She'll say she sat because she was tired, or because it was hot. I know better!
In any case, a few minutes and a non-softened pony later, she asked what I will do next weekend if he doesn't soften up.
Keep warming up I told her. Yep, she agreed.
And so we did more up and down transitions, more counter-bending, and more figure eights.
I rode my first test from start to finish with no cueing. She seemed pleased with our work. She actually felt that if we performed the test as we had just ridden it, we would get acceptable scores (my adjective use, not hers! She may have said something like "great" but the D.S. only went for acceptable. D.S. will be explained below). We took a quick "chat" break, and then went on to my second test. Hmmm ... not so great.
Our hard won canter transitions fell apart. Speedy gave some mighty big kicks when asked to pick up the right lead canter. We decided that asking for the canter in the corner was too difficult for him. For the show I'll ask for the canter at "A" where we'll be a bit straighter.
Speedy G was also way too racey as he approached the "A" end of the dressage court, the "C" end of the court, and anywhere else that he didn't like what we were doing. So, my coach came up with some tips and things to remember: hold my core to slow him down, post to the outside ear, half halts ... basically everything we're already practicing. I just need to remember to use what we know, breathe, and stay relaxed. Sounds so easy, huh?
Speedy G never really was a GOOD BOY, but we did get through both tests.
I should squeeze in a brief explanation here. If you were to actually watch one of these lessons, you would wonder just what the hell I am talking about. The whole time I am riding you would hear, nice correction. Your leg looks really good. Yes, just like that! A little more half halting rein. Don't worry about it, you're doing fine! A little more inside bend ...
My inner voice, the part I hear, is really some over-the-top drill sergeant that sneaks in totally uninvited. It's pretty loud and usually drowns her out with things like, What the hell was that? Idiot! Are you kidding me? Really? Okay ... that wasn't too terrible. There are others, but you get the idea.
So did I enjoy my lesson? OF COURSE! Did I do ANYTHING correctly? YES! Even though I find it difficult to give myself credit with that drill sergeant kicking my butt, here's what I know we did right.
- I stayed on, without even a wobble, during some pretty spectacular don't-wanna-do-this kicks.
- We rocked the extended walk ... finally!
- I KNEW both tests and rode them without a single cue or hesitation.
- We showed Coach our stretchy trot circle for the first time, and it WAS a real stretchy trot circle!
- My leg and seat were much steadier ... not great, but better!
I practice regularly, I read dressage articles, I read dressage books. I watch millions of YouTube videos. (They count!) In short, I am doing my homework, I'm studying, and I want to see it reflected in my test scores.
Can I get a copy of Dressage for Dummies?