Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dressage Lesson

I had my first lesson with Sarah today. I was nervous, so I got ready really early and was on and walking around by the time Sarah got the barn. We started out at the walk, making Werther move forward without me having to cajole him all the time. Sarah had me practice having my legs hang loose at his side, which is weird for me, because with hunters you never want your leg to swing. Sarah also had me significantly shorten my reins and take a much bigger feel of his mouth than I am used to. Werther didn't really mind, but it was new to me. It took me awhile to figure out the placement of my elbow, I'm still not entirely sure if I have it right, but from what I understand, you want a straight vertical line, and to have your elbow act like a hinge, but not push it forward like it hunters. I am also used to compensating for short arms by straightening out my elbows. We moved on the trot, Sarah had me work on a circle which I spiraled in and then would leg yield him out to a larger circle. I have to make sure Werther does not cheat and that he uses his whole body when he leg yields and not just his neck. We did some walk trot transitions to help get Werther lighter to leg and to give me a chance to practice upwards transitions with more contact. I'm used to giving when I move into an upward transition, with the hunter mentality of making sure you don't punish the horse for moving forward. I also working on sitting on seat bones like a dressage rider, and not my crotch like a hunter rider, especially in the forward transitions. We moved on the canter transition, which was really good on the right lead, but he was still a little resistant on the left, and even offered a little buck, but he finished well. I'm happy with how things went, and I feel like I have new tools I can use when I am hacking by myself. 

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