For the last two months, I've been in lesson heaven. Those familiar with my story know that I am adult amateur in every sense. Until this year, I'd never ridden above First Level dressage before, I work full time, my horse is not a well-bred dressage super star, and my time is incredibly limited. Add to that the fact that I see my trainer only once a month, and it's surprising we're even working on Second Level at this point. So when my trainer mentioned having me trailer the couple hours to her place for a mini "working student" day, I pretty much tossed Guinness into the trailer immediately.
I've been lucky enough to have two of these working student days in the last month on top of my regular monthly lesson, and the amount of feel I've picked up and the mechanics I've learned are really astounding. I don't feel like the same rider I was a month ago. Guinness has been really benefiting from all of my extra riding as well. He doesn't feel like the same horse. He's more confident in the bridle, more on my aids, more flexible, and overall more like a dressage horse.
Still for all of the overall improvements, I'm still working to perfect the basics. Top of the list right now? Eliminating pulling from my half halts and halts.
Right now, the issue seems to be rooted in my balance. My first instinct is to drop my core behind the motion, which leads me to fall out of rhythm with my horse and lose all of the effectiveness in my seat. Then, I try to stop the growing freight train by lowering my hands and giving a pull. This, of course, just pulls my upper body further behind the movement and causes Guinness to lock his neck and poll against me.
|This is pulling. Dear self, don't do this. K thnx, bai.|
The change in Guinness' way of going is amazing when I manage to stay with him through every half halt. However, I am amazed at how much core strength it is taking me to stay forward enough with my body while still sitting up with my seat.
This horse. What an ab workout...