August 29, 2014

Got Our Groove Back, and Contest Results!

Contest results at the bottom, but first, an amazing lesson!

I asked not to ride T in my lesson last night because I felt that I'd figured some things out enough after riding T to productively ride Connor, and it turns out that was the right decision.  In fact, it was such a dramatic turnaround from our last lesson that my trainer could hardly believe it.

"This changes everything!" she said, and she is not generally a dramatic person.  And later on, "This is the best he's ever looked!"

This post filled with pictures I never shared from FRVPCHT Dressage in June.

We started out focusing on walk-halt transitions from my seat with my forearms "not doing anything" and feeling as though I had "two shopping bags on the crook of each elbow, trying to keep them from sliding down but not using my forearms to hold them there."  If she saw muscle lines appear on my forearm, she got after me.  It led to soft soft soft following hands.

I think we were on a circle here, my upper body isn't turning at all though.  Another problem of mine.

That, she said, should be the exercise I go back to when the wheels start to come off.  It really helped me ride back to front and got him listening to my seat.  We both need a lot of that.

Next, we picked up the trot, and I really figured something new out here.  We've had issues with right bend, well, she had me continue using my newly soft arms and with him carrying his head lower, she had me lower my hands to keep in line with the bit.  When we were on a 20m circle to the right, I both lowered my left (outside) hand far lower than I normally carry it and shifted my weight from the inside stirrup to the outside stirrup at the same time.

What if there's no outside rein for him to come into here?  What if all of my weight is on the inside foot?  I think that's what was happening.

Instantly, I had awesome right bend.  What?  I tried it again. Same thing.


Derpy agrees.

Connor was soft and melty and paying such close attention to my seat.  He was consistent in the bridle and not trying to dive down at all.  It was so harmonious, which is especially amazing considering how difficult and combative the last few lessons had been.  "You really got a lot out of riding T," she said.  Who knew 30 minutes at the walk could have such an effect?

I know by now that these breakthroughs in one area are followed by working on something else, which presents the opportunity to forget this, so I'm going to work really hard to internalize this.  Feels good to get somewhere!

Going places, doing stuff.

And now, the 100 followers contest results!  Really, you are all winners, because I'm going to share the Adam's Labor Day Sale coupon code, good for 15% off your entire order.  This is how I got my blanket last year:

And I also will have a promotional code coming sometime soon from EquiFit ShouldersBack, if you're planning on purchasing one of those.  I'll post it when I have it.

And now, the big winner is...

Alli of Ponytude!  Congratulations, Alli!  I'll get with you via email for your prize!


  1. OMG I'M SO EXCITED!!!! THANK YOU!!! And your lesson sounds AMAZING... I think I need to ship Dino out for some dressage lessons with your trainer!

    1. You are so welcome! He can come, but you have to come too. Bring your new XC vest! Haha.

  2. Sounds like an amazing lesson and congrats Alli!

  3. Congrats!
    And what a great lesson! I love how you explain things.

    1. I'm glad. I hope the imagery helps others too!

  4. Congrats Alli! Glad you had an awesome lesson :)

  5. Replies
    1. Word - things I can't learn anywhere else.

  6. Dressage is so fun when it goes right!

    1. And so soul-crushing when it doesn't...haha.

  7. I love jumps, but dressage is seriously where it is at!

  8. awesome! it's amazing how simple -and yet groundbreaking- some dressage concepts are once they 'click'. i like the shopping bag metaphor too. it's been a struggle figuring out how to use the weight of my arms as they hang instead of tensing the muscles. that imagery might really help!