In Which I Could Not Figure Out How To Ride My Horse

I had the most amazing lesson on Sunday.  I could not ride my own horse.

Let me explain.

We started out with the aforementioned in-hand work to get him light and thinking.  Then once I was in the saddle, it was shoulder in, shoulder in, shoulder in.


I could feel a change happening.  My trainer noticed it too and said, "He's experimenting with a whole new way of going right now."  That way of going was AWESOME.  Forward, balanced, and listening so hard to my aids.

In fact, too hard.  About halfway through the lesson, every aid I gave in the walk produced a collected canter.  And we're not talking cowboy kicks: we're talking moving my hips forward to ask for the trot.

For me, the person who usually has to start most rides yelling the aids, those are tiny aids, but they were no longer tiny.  The scale of yelling to tiny had changed with Connor's attentiveness, and I had no concept how to ride something that sensitive.

My trainer was ready to play, "This is not a bad thing right now.  Now pretend like you cannot use leg aids on him at all for a few minutes and use just your seat and core to communicate to him."  And let me tell you, there is no cooler feeling than asking for a transition by sitting up just ever so slightly taller, maybe not even visibly from the ground, and getting it.


"Part of it is that it's cooler and he's clipped, but part of it is that we're making him more sensitive to your aids, and now you have to learn how to ride that.  You have to sit absolutely still when he's on your aids like this, because every movement is overload."

I've ridden him when he's sensitive before (see also that Dressage test where he broke to the canter in the trot last spring), but this was a whole other level.  At the end we talked about ways I can get that kind of responsiveness in my rides on my own, which I continue to struggle with, and I think we have a game plan going forward.


22 comments:

  1. Oh that's exciting! Love it when you feel like they are ready for anything you ask.

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  2. You guys are making huge strides! How exciting. :-)

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    1. Thank you. I did conveniently skip the two rides before that in which I couldn't get him straight to save my life.

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  3. This is amaaaazing!! I am just a little bit jealous!

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  4. sounds like an awesome feeling :D

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  5. That is so exciting and sounds exactly like why I'm addicted to dressage ;-)

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    1. Exactly my thoughts. These rides are addicting!

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  6. So. Cool. Sound slile some serious dressaging happening!

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  7. Definitely cool! Lately Kat has been offering moments like this and it's always super fun!

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    1. It really is. It makes me want more.

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  8. Such a cool feeling...except when it spirals out of control and your horse is too smart and too in tune to your aids! I love reading about you guys making such awesome discoveries!

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  9. What an awesome discovery! It's hard to go from 100 to 0 in your aids though - like riding a whole 'nother pony!

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  10. You are seriously making me want to take up dressage, that sounds SO cool.

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    Replies
    1. You should, it is seriously fun to discover this kind of riding!

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