Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Getting it together

This week, I've finally jumped back on into the swing of things. My rides have been solid, and actually happening on a schedule. My horse has been strong and willing. I haven't been sick.

In short, what's going on here?! Quick! Somebody knock on ALL THE WOOD!

Last week, I pushed for more elasticity and flexibility in our lateral work. We started off a little bit weak and discombobulated. Not surprising for a horse and rider with a spotty winter work record. By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, Guinness was feeling physically good but he wasn't mentally playing the game. He wasn't comfortable in the bridle that day, tossing his head and generally being a fuss face. We did as well as we could and he did settle in a bit as the ride went on.

Sunday, a switch flipped. He was fabulous. Immediately soft and forward into the bridle, he felt so strong and on my aids. I worked hard that day to sit heavily on my right seatbone, as I tend to float it and squeeze with my inner thigh instead of actually sit and weight it. This made a huge difference in Guinness' straightness and overall balance. It's something I'll keep in mind for every ride (until I forget ... again).

We started off the lateral work with some leg yields to get Guinness listening to my seat and leg aids. I've been practicing these pretty hard. They were such a weak part of our showing last year at First Level, and I don't want them to trip us up again this year. As you can see in the short video below, the yields to the left are pretty fluid. Unfortunately, until I can get myself sitting deeper on my right seatbone, the yield to the right is going to be a little wonky. I did fix it and get some good work, but sadly that work didn't end up on video.

Leg Yielding Video:

After getting Guinness on my aids, I worked hard on refining our shoulder in. My goal this month has been to increase the bend in the shoulder-in, and step up the engagement from the beginning. What do you guy think? Am I getting there?

Shoulder-in Video:

Keep your fingers crossed that my barn-owner managed to get the ring watered today. While my rides recently have been fabulous, I'm a little over being coated with a thick layer of dust after every ride. If you look closely at the videos, you can see how dusty it is. (You can also see how high the snow was here. see how high it's piled up on the outside of the arena?)

10 comments:

  1. The two of you look great! Pretty partnership.

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    1. Thanks a lot! I really like the phrase "pretty partnership," that's what dressage is about, right?

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  2. I think your shoulder-in is Second Level show worthy. :) One of my favorite exercises is shoulder-in, to ranvers, back to shoulder-in. It seems to have helped my horse rock back more and really let that outside leg swing forward. Plus it's good for suppling and all that. haha. :) You guys look super - I really enjoy reading about your progress. Also, YAY for nice weather!!!

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    1. That means a lot coming from someone who's been there and done that!

      I love doing that renvers/shoulder-in exercise too. It must make my horse feel like he's cracking his back or something, because he's so much bouncier and more supple afterwards!

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  3. Knocking on all the wood for you guys, you look awesome!

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    1. Thanks! Wood knocking is pretty much always needed when dealing with Captain Injury-Prone.

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  4. Keeping everything crossed for you guys, sounds like great progress is being made :-D

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    1. It's a whole lot of fun! We appreciate the finger crossing!

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  5. Alexis's trainer/boss says dressage riding starts at 2nd level, which makes sense to me watching the movements and how they are put together. Guinness looks so consistent and relaxed! Oh, and I love your red coat :)

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    1. I totally agree with Alexis' trainer! It's amazing how much more dressage makes sense once we start working at 2nd!

      I love my red coat, too. I'll have to do a review of it soon!

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