Team Practice #1

Team practice was SO MUCH FUN!  If you ever want a synopsis of why I love boarding, this is it.

It's the one guy on the team running into the aisle and asking if she wanted us in English tack today (he meant Dressage, but I asked him how his barrel pattern was coming along anyway.)

It's sort of getting to audit five other peoples' lessons.

It's having a coach, and a common goal with all the people you hang out with (kickass somewhere between BN and Training level eventing this year).

A wordy post broken up with pictures of Connor loafing in his field, because nobody was there to take pictures.


It rode like all of our private lessons, but with friends.  We started out by working on straight walk-halt transitions, and she told us we were all responsible for making sure our horse was on our aids and in front of our leg the entire lesson.  "Whatever you need to do to make that happen, fine, but it's your responsibility to identify it and fix it."  Autonomy, so cool!

Next we moved on to riding the first half of each long side in shoulder in, and the second half in haunches in. Sleeping on yesterday's lesson must have done Connor some good, because we got mad compliments for how smooth we made the transition between the two, and were told to quit that exercise early.

After that, canter transitions and then counter canter, long sides only.  Turns out it was the first time I've ever asked Connor for that, and we got the wrong (right?) lead the first time.  "Imagine you're in the open field and you're going to ask him to pick up the left lead."  I did, and he did!  "This is what it means to have your horses listening to your aids and not just anticipating and thinking 'Oh she's asking for the canter, she must want this lead,'" she said.  The counter canter really did something for him, and he was so straight and on my aids the rest of the lesson.


The second half of the 90 minute lesson was all poles and jumping, and I am proud to say that though Connor was tired, he gave it his all and did really well.  We need to work on jumping straight, and he was a little long and flat, but overall he was great through the exercise that eventually became four crossrail bounces in a row.  The strides were set for the average stride length of the group, and I felt like he didn't have to work too hard to reach it, though I did have to ride with awareness of it.

It sounds like we'll be doing this once a week on Sundays, and occasionally switching horses.  Since we all are required to have at least one private lesson a week already (she doesn't do group lessons), and it's hard to teach Dressage in a group lesson, this will often be a jump lesson, which is great since none of us jump on our own.  I am especially excited to switch horses, since nobody but Mary, my trainer and I have ridden Connor the entire two years he's been here, and I haven't ridden any other horses (besides the football shaped (and sized?) ponies Austen has put me on when I visit her) the entire time I've owned him.


28 comments:

  1. I love boarding for such similar reasons, and I love that you love your boarding situation :)

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, maybe it was four years of equine college/equestrian team, but it's just more fun when you've got a bunch of partners in crime running around with you.

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  2. That sounds like so much fun! There is a clinician who comes here who has a similar plan...you pay (very reasonable $) for either a morning or afternoon session, and as a group decide what it is you`d like to work on. One time I wanted to work on canter leads and someone else wanted to practice obstacles so I ended up doing western trail patterns on my english horse in my dressage saddle. So fun to change it up and have lesson mates to cheer on too :)

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    1. That's a really good idea for a clinician to do at a boarding barn! It is fun to do something different.

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  3. Sounds like a super fun ride! Easy to see why you love your situation. :D

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    1. Yes, it's worth every fork of manure I have to throw to stay here. :)

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  4. That sounds like a blast!! I forget how much I love group lessons but it doesn't happen as much in the dressage world :( I always feel like I learn just as much by watching everyone else as I do by working on my own things.

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    1. Me too, I love auditing! It is hard to do Dressage in a group lesson, you have to be so focused on the entire ride as a trainer. I have never asked, but I think that's why she only teaches private (or very rarely semi-private with two people) lessons.

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  5. That sounds fun! And switching horses is will be exciting :)

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    1. Yes it will be! I am so looking forward to it, both because I want to see someone else ride Con and because I haven't ridden anything taller than him in two and a half years!

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  6. That is fantastic and so much fun. You two are going to rock it this year!

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    1. Thanks, I feel like we're headed in a good direction. I told his breeder the other night how he's just so ready to work lately, and he's reaching for the bit all the time now, and she was like "Well there's something to them only starting to work when they're eight..." Probably not what you want to hear with a baby. :)

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  7. Glad you had such a good time in your lesson! The place you board sounds really awesome.

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  8. When a boarding barn is awesome, IT'S AWESOME. When a boarding barn sucks, well then...

    glad you love your place:)

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    1. Yes, and this is literally my only option. There's nothing else around here! So it's a good thing it's good, otherwise, it would be bad...

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  9. Your barn just sounds amazing! Boarding is really nice when it works out.

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  10. What an awesome lesson and fun time that sounds like!! And great learning too!!

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  11. Switch riding is such a great way to learn! I got a ton of confidence after I knew I could be successful jumping other people's horses.

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    1. That part makes me a little nervous, honestly, so that's good of you to say that! I used to get so scared jumping. All of our horses are good eggs so I think it will be fine.

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  12. oh sounds like such fun. I have a similar thing with my friends (common goals, showing together, etc) but we all have our own places...it makes things a lot more fun doesn't it!

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    1. Yes! Mary is that way for me, more than anyone, but she is far away too. It's such a bummer.

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  13. Replies
    1. Now imagine if all of us blog girls were in one place doing that. How much fun would that be?

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  14. Team practice sounds interesting!

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    1. I can't lie, it's pretty much a group lesson like you have, but those are rare in Dressageland. Team practice just makes it sound fancy...

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