View Full Version : Great Lessons and some Video to Share!

Jan. 24, 2011, 12:00 PM
I have been taking some lessons with a truly wonderful instructor- a hidden gem whose specialty is rider position and body work. She is a certified physical trainer and has at least her Bronze medal in dressage (maybe her silver too- I forget). Anyhow, she is so keen and aware of how the rider's body interacts with and influences the horse- in just 6 lessons my riding has come leaps and bounds.

Last Monday (I had off due to MLK Day), despite below zero (Farenheit) temps overnight and daytime highs in the low teens, I had a lesson with her. Due to family issues and a blizzard, it had been over a month since my last lesson. I feared that I may have lost ground, but was really excited to get back to work. I came into the arena really early to do lots of handwalking and a generous warmup- also to watch my friend who is schooling 3rd level- I learned a lot by watching!! When it came time for me, she asked me what I wanted to work on and I said Zoe's suppleness and hind end engagement and my position- especially at the sitting trot and canter. We started with some trot work, but moved on to the canter pretty quickly. We did some work on canter squares- basically riding quarterline to quarterline instead of circling while I worked on really sitting on my seatbones and opening up my hip angle. This really got Zoe to sit on her hind end, and although I felt like I was laying down in the saddle (ha) I must say it just looked like a proper dressage canter- wooo hooo! I could not believe how good Zoe felt- as odd as it sounds, she felt bigger and rounder under me. She wasn't perfect- there were a few head-flings that I called Zoe "giving me the middle finger" but the quality of her canter was just amazing. We even did some very small circles at the canter (a volte, yes?) and Zoe actually held it together!!

We also did some lateral work at the trot (SI, HI and my first renvers!! on straitaways and on 10 m circles) and all at the SITTING TROT!! I sat for probably 15-20 min. worth of trotting!! That is a record for Zoe and me!

By the end, both Zoe and I had done some sweating despite it being a whopping 12 degrees in the arena!

This was the first lesson where I felt "Yes, THIS is how it should be" in all 3 gaits. Interestingly, it was also the first time Zoe was somewhat rebellious about the whole thing, which made the "mommy" side of me feel really bad! The instructor told me that it is a normal reaction to having her balance messed with and to having to work so hard, but that we are more than capable of this work as a team and the speed bumps will diminish as Zoe adjusts to the new way of working.

She says it's first level for us in May! GULP!!

I had another great lesson yesterday (1-23) and it was another cold one!� It was about 15-17 degrees in the indoor (not nearly as cold as I thought it would be).� The cold doesn't really get to me, but bless my DH heart, he doesn't do so hot out of doors!

We worked a lot on transitions and my position, namely� trying to counteract the arch and stiffness in my back lower back which has been preventing me from really sitting on my seatbones.� You'll notice that she had me really lean waaaay back since I have a tendency to perch and lose contact with the saddle.� It felt pretty awkward (and doesn't look so hot now) but I think with time I will really improve.

He took about 40 min. of footage and I managed to trim it down to about 15.� For some reason the second half uploaded while the first one did not, so part one should come at some point later today.�

Any input is welcome!!

Part I:

Part II

Jan. 24, 2011, 12:22 PM
Thanks so much for sharing!! I.m still watching..my puter is soooo slow..but yuo are addessing alot of issues i am having and this has been very helpful. You look great and your horse is lovely!! First level here you come!! Best wishes to you and I love your instructor too!;)

Jan. 24, 2011, 04:09 PM
Thank you so much EasyStreet!!

The first part of the video is up now! http://vimeo.com/19126944

Jan. 24, 2011, 04:58 PM
:D Great going. Didn't watch all of #1 and only start of #2 - but when posting - to help soften contact and get rid of the mirrle finger syndrome - think of opening your elbows as you post up and closing them as you post down. Makes for a better connection.

And when cantering think of elbows as going down and up (just a bit) to allow for change in horses head position.

You're doing a nice job of riding her - especially under those circumstances. :D