Newbie here, remember. It's a constant learning process for me and I get excited about the tiniest things .
Today my wonderful trainer fixed about five things with one tweak. My ankles turn out my toes automatically, and today we really worked on turning my toes in, heels out. To my amazement, this fixed so many other things. First, it opened my hips, which allowed me to really plug my seat in (without killing my undercarriage!). Second, it put the insides of my calves against him, rather than the backs of my calves. I have proof on the inside of my boots! I can feel so much more with the insides of my legs than the back, especially with the hard back boot seam, so I ride much softer. Third, it allows my legs to naturally feel and rhythmically guide him effortlessly, rather than my having to concentrate on the right rhythm. It was all natural. Fourth, I didn't push him AT ALL! He was moving forward the whole time, and especially when we changed rein across diagonal, he was moving out beautifully (perhaps it is the jumper in him, getting excited about the diagonal line!)! Usually I feel like I have to push him...but he's truly not lazy at all...but because previously I had the back of my legs on him, with the spurs when my heels came up, I was bugging him and probably irritating the crap out of him with every stride, so I felt like I had to push. Today, there was NONE of that, and he wasn't even hot today. I didn't need a "go" button...but he wasn't wound up...I told him what to do, then I left him alone, and he just continued doing it until I told him something else! Is this how it is supposed to be?? If so, I LOVE dressage even more! I usually get winded at some point in the lesson...and today I felt like I could have ridden forever. Fifth, my legs were back (normally I have to work on keeping them back and rely on the blocks for help). Sixth, he was so, so happy that I was so much looser. And seventh...previously I couldn't do sitting trot for longer than half a 20 m circle without whining. Today? I could have sat his trot for hours. Truly. It was so comfortable. We didn't even canter today as we were having so much fun just trotting around and working on my toes. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can maintain the right position with my ankles and then we can try it at canter. He has a great canter with a great jump...but again, I have been "on" him, pushing, which he doesn't like. I can't wait to see how much better it is if I can keep myself together.
I know how lucky I am to have found a wonderful, patient, competent, kind trainer. I also know how lucky I am that my heart horse found me, was willing to switch from jumping to dressage, and is the sweetest boy to let me hug and kiss him, groom him, and play silly games with him. He is the most patient horse ever and is very therapeutic. I consider it a bonus that he teaches me that riding him correctly will result in him doing exactly what he is supposed to do. As my trainer said today, horsie is very proud of himself and thinks he is one hot potato . I agree!! Extra Altoids and carrots were provided today .
Congrats! It really is a fabulous feeling when everything seems to click isn't it?! I've had so many ah hah moments on my greenie recently (b/c of my awesome trainer) and it just makes me love this sport even more than I already do(though I didn't know it was possible )
Thank you both! It's so exciting, especially as a newbie! . Piaffe Girl, I recently came across your blog and had fun reading it . Covergirl, the aha moments are lovely - continued good times ahead for you and your greenie for sure!
What a great experience! Thanks for sharing your discovery, your enthusiasm and joy had me smiling all through your post! Hope you have many more wonderful ah-ha moments, they seem to be what get us all addicted to dressage
Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com
Congratulations! There is nothing better than those lessons with those aha moments when something clicks. There will be others, later, when you wonder what they heck you are doing wrong. Its all part of this wonderful journey. Your positive attitude and love for your horse will bring you far in this sport -- keep it up!