Well her goes my first detailed post for the Dressage club! Though I am tempted to just write "I rode this horse today" I am going to make an honest attempt to actually say what I learned, and eventually I can do it in a timely manner instead of almost a week after!
So last Friday I had a lesson at 2, though I went to the barn early. It was a great day out and so I texted my boss to see if there was anything around the barn that needed to be done. Being such a nice day there was no way I was going to stay cooped up inside until my lesson. Boss told me to text my other boss, and which I did, and I ended up going to the barn around 1 to groom some horses for her to ride before my lesson. Getting a couple horses ready for her made me remember of the days I wanted to be a working student. I would still love to have the oppertunity to do so, but my dreams of becoming a vet take priority right now.
I rode Fiona for my lesson that day (no surprise there!) and we ran through our tests before our first dressage show of the IDA season. This semester I am riding the intro B test (my goal is to be in training level by the fall time or this time next year). The biggest problems that I have to work on are my hands and trying not to arch my back. My back has been my riding nemesis since day one and I still struggle with correcting myself. I guess at this point arching my back feels normal that when it isn't arched I feel like I am slouching. Before this lesson I believed that my hands were my best attribute. I tend to have really soft hands and over time I have learned to keep my fingers closed while still being soft. When I was riding my test my instructor told me that my hands were spread to far apart which the judge would interpret as a false sense of contact (whoops!) So at this point during my practice rides fixing my hands is the number one thing on my mind. I ran through my test twice and the second test was much better than the first test. My instructor also mentioned that I sometimes use spurs when I don't have to, which has always been my biggest 'fear' when using spurs. I have seen people ride with spurs who constantly have them dug into the horse's sides and I do not want to become that kind of rider.
The next day I did my required practice ride on Fiona. I didn't bring any riding pants so my boss said that I could ride bare back. I was super excited about this because the last time I had rode bareback was when I was in Minnesota and riding Mr. P and back then my balance was crap. After giving Fiona a nice groom I hoped on and tried to relax and really focus on my hands. It was nice to feel like I had some balance (though Fiona is kind of wide so it makes it kind of nice). I also really focused on my feet and trying to get my toes turned in (I still don't believe my feet can bend that way!) I always joke when my instructor tells me to turn my toes in and say that I should have never let Dr. K shorten the tendons in my ankle. Fiona really didn't get much of a work out since I was working on my position at the walk and trot but I feel like she enjoyed the ride. She really had her ears forward and was offering to go forward without me wearing any spurs or using a whip. I think I am going to ride without spurs for a while and see if we can keep this up! I did try cantering a couple times and it was great, though it felt SO WEIRD. I loved being able to feel Fiona's back and it was easy to tell when she was tense or relaxed.
Well I'm off to class and then heading home for spring break!
Thanks for reading :)