Monday, October 24, 2016

Lessons Galore

I somehow went from  the "lessons once a quarter or so" schedule to the "four lessons in six days" schedule.

I am ok with that.

It started last Thursday--that's usually a trainer ride day, but I'd missed my usual lesson Tuesday and our trainer was able to squeeze us in, so a lesson it was. 
it was also gameday #winning #movingup
I was thrilled with C. Thrilled. Omg. It was like sitting on a dressage horse. He was loose and forward and OMG rideable and I actually got to work on me. Guess what? When he lets me ride, my position actually doesn't suck that bad. 

So that's super cool. 

We had about 90% of a REALLY good ride and then we went to do right lead canter and Courage had kind of a giant existential crisis about how hard it was mentally which resulted in a giant flail and the only thing between me and a concussion-while-mounted was my beloved standing martingale.
only regret: phone ran out of space so no flail media

We finished with a nice little relaxed trot on a loose rein and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I had a peek at the sort of horse Courage is capable of being and omg it's going to be fun. Someday. Haha.


We had a nice toodle on Friday, found out about a last minute dressage clinic with our favorite clinician from last year, and slipped in for Sat/Sun rides.
such class!

There isn't really any media from Saturday beyond my proof-of-outfit shot. We worked on a persistent head twist that Courage has. It's usually subtle, but it always stymies me. Our trainer was able to get rid of it on ride #1, but it kind of comes and goes for me and I'd like to stop getting test comments like "every time he twists his head, a puppy dies" from dressage judges. 

The clinician called it out as an imbalance and gave me a bunch of tools to work through it with. The biggest problem was that I had to address like 7 things at once and my brain wasn't thinking that fast. I also warned her that we could be explosive when cantering, so she had us canter both ways and HOT DAMN C-Rage kept his brain in his head and was lovely. 

I think my best takeaway from this day was simply that when Courage is with me mentally and rideable, I need to actually ride him. Whether or not he is rideable can be hit and miss, but I need to take advantage of the good days.

Then came day two!! Not only did my trainer take (extensive) video for me, but Alyssa came out and nabbed some great pictures. That is no easy task when you're basically trotting 20m circles over and over, so full credit to her.
turquoise day!
We took all the concepts I learned on day one in terms of getting Courage to rebalance without the head tilt and put them together at speed. And by speed, I mean slow trotting. It's hard, ok?

I had to ask Courage to keep his neck low and long. The neck is a counter balance, so I'd take the neck one way in order to tip the body the other way. If he was stuck, we had to go on a small (5-10m) circle to diagnose what was holding while riding forward and engaging the hind end. Oh and if I did all the right things and he still didn't release, that meant I was holding in my body. So. Apparently I do that a lot.
all tip top except that twist

I can't seem to make it sound as hard as it was in the moment. Rest assured, it was super hard. Courage was also super good and stayed with me the whole time.

At this point you're probably like "where is lesson #4" and "wtf you said there was video of clinic day #2" to which I say "lesson #4 is tomorrow I think" and "it's not edited yet ok".

In a lot of ways, this whole year has felt pointless and stagnant to me--we didn't really get out and show, we didn't make a lot of measurable progress, and no one thing makes me go "wow yeah look at that accomplishment". I mean, yeah, objectively, we didn't really get that far.

But.

This is the year Courage needed. To this point, he has more or less gone through the motions, but now he's starting to really understand them. The rides I've had the past few days are rides I could not have had last year, last month, or even last week. He's mentally with me and he's ready to go on.

And as much as I love satin, I love this feeling more.

PS hopefully satin next year. finger crossed.

27 comments:

  1. "And as much as I love satin, I love this feeling more."

    Totally had the same thought myself lately. I had a "Why am I doing this?" moment in my head after my terrible championship show, and decided it's because I love that FEELING. Next I'd like to be able to get that feeling regularly and in front of a judge, but just getting it at all is why I do this sport.

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    1. Haha I feel you. We definitely have moments where I'm like "ah this is how we win first level", but those are few and far between and we definitely have more that are like "uh please don't die". So. Someday. :-)

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  2. Love everything about this post, especially the matchy matchy. So glad that you were able to give Courage (and yourself!) the year you needed to make big progress. So excited for you 😁

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  3. I admittedly didn't watch the entire video, but damn, what I did see looked fantastic!!

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    1. Haha I never judge people for not watching videos. This one wasn't particularly riveting anyways.

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  4. He looks awesome! I am admittedly having more fun with the training process than I ever did showing.

    Maybe it is just me getting old, but I'm not sure how much I want to stuff myself into uncomfortable show clothes and go spend a long, hot, expensive day for the reward of a $.25 cent ribbon. Just my random thoughts!

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    1. I do think a well schooled horse needs to be able to go off property and keep its brain in its head. And I want a bronze medal. So. We'll keep at it, but I definitely see where you're coming from.

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  5. I discovered this weekend that better horse comprehension of the derpssage + better riding = MOAR SATIN. So yes, MOAR SATIN NEXT YEAR!!!

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    1. I seem to be trapped in a loop in the universe with zero satin. SOB.

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  6. Love the turq on turq outfit! You two are so glam!

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  7. I have been bouncing back and forth between "OMG we fail at everything and why can't I have a horse that is capable of walk trot and canter" and "wow we have really made progress and we will get there." So thank you for the timely reminder that we can get there (eventually). :)

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    1. Some are faster, some are slower, none are problem free. Just depends how patient you are and what you like working with.

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  8. Some years you make a boatload of progress, other years you win and sometimes you do neither... that's just riding!

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  9. I am really enjoying watching you two. Even if it is just 20m circles or whatnot. I get to see all of the change, and that is a cool thing to witness.

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  10. Glad you're having fun! And feeling progress :)

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  11. Becoming a team > Satin. Anyday :)

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  12. Oh don't worry, I read that description and was like "omg that sounds hard." I would love to go to a clinic like that.

    You both look great. I know what you mean about not having measurable objective signs of progress, but making progress nonetheless. We've had a year like that as well.

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    1. Haha glad someone got it. I was hoping I didn't just sound like an idiot.

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  13. My inner lesson junkie is quite pleased with this :D

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  14. "...we didn't make a lot of measurable progress,...."

    The hell you didn't! Working out the kinks and cleaning up the transitions and movements themselves is a Lot of progress. It may seem small, but the greater good is the sum of its small parts.

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  15. I am totally addicted to lessons! You two definitely are progressing...I wouldn't say you didn't make measurable progress

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  16. Turquoise day made you both look awesome!

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  17. Hey my little OTTB does the same twist. 100% it's something I'm doing but glad to see I'm not the only one who is slightly baffled! Even if you haven't made huge leaps and bounds in your progress, it does sound like both of you have kind of turned a corner for the better this year.

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