You know when you have one of those clicking moments riding? I had one today.
Dressage has always been my enemy. Not so much that I hated it, but my QH hony only started to "get it" and then strained his suspensory. He obviously wasn't wanting the forward into the bridle part of dressage, nor pushing from behind. He always loved XC and especially SJ, but dressage was never our forte.
Fast forward to last month, I started half leasing a big holsteinerX. I was told he had problems doing any real dressage work, but scored well at lower levels because of consistency with his contact.
Today, I schooled him for the first time in my dressage saddle (I've probably only sat on him 5 times ever), and we just had this "aha" moment. He immediately started using himself properly on the bit and lifting through the back and really pushing from behind. Even my trainer was surprised! I have never really liked dressage before...but I think now, I will. I can't wait to see what the next ride brings. I know the canter needs work, but I was so pleased with his quality of trot. I wish I had a picture! Alas, I forgot.
Anyone else had any good clicking or "aha" moments lately?
There really isn't anything quite like the feeling of your horse REALLY using himself the first time.
I haven't had any HUGE moments lately, but just little breakthroughs with Toby in the dressage. He's SO much stronger lately, and he just feels tremendous, and I'm learning (or being reminded) not to baby him or even avoid confrontation with him. When I say "No. We do it like THIS" I should expect to get the proper answer. And I'm getting it more and more.
In my lesson on Monday, I DID learn that if I can force myself to live through a "but doing it like that is HARD" temper tantrum, he will be freaking awesome on the backside of the temper tantrum. And we had a big moment when, after riding out a few minutes of "I don't WANT to stay straight, and I don't WANT you to hold the outside rein! You're MEAN!", that, suddenly, I could let go a little on the outside to get a really nice leg yield (I was blocking him with the outside rein), pick it back up at the end of the leg yield, and still have a straight, powerful, and relaxed horse.
Of course, we were both dripping with sweat by the end of the ride, but it was pretty awesome.
My abs hurt like crazy today! I hope that means I was doing something right.
I think that's the first time I've ever really smiled while schooling dressage more like beaming actually.
Sounds like Toby is learning pretty quickly and you can push through the little temper tantrums! I am one that babies too, and it has been hard for me to not do that and realize that I DO know what I want with my dressage work and push through it.
Since moving my horse to my trainer's barn a few months ago, I've had a lot of those light bulb moments. Most recently, however, was getting to take my horse to his (and my!) very first jumper show. We only did the 18" division, but it was amazing to feel just how POWERFUL he has become and what an incredibly light and forward canter he has...when he WANTS to! (This from a horse who used to want to simply canter in place or pogo-stick up and down.) In fact, I was so excited during our last round that as we cantered down the long side, I completely forgot my course and was eliminated. Oops. I'm a big chicken as a rider, so perhaps the real lightbulb moment for me was realizing that, "Hey, I can actually ride and jump this horse and I won't die!"
A little background: I bred and raised a horse, had to sell him at 8, located him in a horse rescue years later, reclaimed him. He came back with major issues, I think he'd been ridden pretty roughly.
Well, today we got a true canter depart, me sitting down on him, just shifting my seat weight and outside leg and boom, smooth transition - rather than having to get up in 2-point and cluck like mad to get him into a rushing trot and leaping canter depart.
As one of my earlier trainers told me: "The best moments can come in the show ring or all alone in a 50-acre field."