My Friday lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was fantastic. Within just a few minutes, she had me working Speedy in a lovely frame. He was the lightest and most on the aides he's ever been for me. We accomplished this with one suppling exercise, and one series of cues.
Suppling exercise: down the long side, flex him to the inside and bring his shoulders in off of the track. Walk a few steps, and then with your leg at the girth have him bring his shoulders back to the track. Repeat several times down the long side. The exercise loosened Speedy's neck and shoulders so that when we picked up the trot, I was able to move him much more easily from my leg.
Chemaine next worked on my position a little while working at the trot.
- Sit to the inside with more weight in my inside stirrup. (OMG - what a HUGE difference that alone made!)
- Open the outside rein.
- Pulse the inside rein, and then let it GO.
- Add inside leg to send him out and forward.
I can't wait to work with Chemaine again. She'll be with Team Symphony at RAAC and invited me to stable with her and her students so that she can coach me there. I was so touched that she invited me to join her group. They are the nicest group of ladies you'd ever want to meet, so I immediately said YES!
After the lesson, Chemaine drove me over to Castle Rock where I met up with fellow blogger, Sarah, who writes about eventing her gelding, Hemie. Check out her blog at Eventing in Color. Sarah saddled Hemie and gave him a fun jumping ride while I watched and took some video. As she was finishing up, she offered me a quick ride. At first I refused, but then I thought why not?
I don't ride in a jumping saddle so that gave me a few giggles as we walked around. I finally asked Hemie for a small trot and just looped around without asking anything of him. I found that I was having some steering issues though and wondered why I was riding so poorly. Then I laughed out loud as I realized what was happening: Hemie had locked onto the jumps and kept aiming for them while I was intent on going around them! I found this hysterically funny.
After cleaning up Hemie and putting him away for the night, Sarah and I drove back into town and had a relaxing dinner where we just chat and found out a bit more about each other. She's a lot of fun to hang with and I appreciated that she took the time to meet up with me. I am definitely calling her back when I am next in Ventura.
We're heading to the cabin for a few days so you might not hear from me if we don't have an internet connection. If we do, I'll be sharing how the clinic went. If not, see you in a few days.