Tuesday, I had my first lesson since I broke my finger. It went as expected: Beau and I are totally out of shape. And Beau doesn’t even have an excuse since he’s been ridden 4-6 days a week by my dad and my leaser!
For our lesson (which I was SOO late to), Cori really wanted us to focus on bending and flexion at the poll. We started at the walk and moved to the trot. That’s all we did the entire lesson, and Beau and I were both feeling it by the end.
A glimpse into how I get Beau to flex:
Get him forward. No, more forward. Add some more inside leg. There. Now tell him what I want with my hand. Inside hand goes back to the outside of my thigh, keeping consistent pressure until he releases, bends, and stretches down. Then wiggle the fingers, while keeping them closed, to get his jaw to unlock and his poll to drop and relax. More inside leg. Keep the contact. Straighten with the outside hip and leg. Keep it, keep it.
It was definitely frustrating to see how much we’ve lost in these 3 months. We had really been clicking before my break, with my dropping his head and keeping the contact. Now, I feel like I’m back to dealing with a giraffe again. A very cute giraffe, but still.
It’s awesome that I have my dad and leaser to ride Beau. They’re great. They keep him worked and sane, and they push him to new heights with the jumping. But my dad (love you!) doesn’t like dressage and hasn’t taken a flat lesson in months, and my leaser is much happier going fast and jumping (both of which are fun, and I definitely don’t blame her for!).
Beau is a hard horse to get to “dressage.” He fights everything and because he’s gotten away with using himself the wrong way for so long, he doesn’t have the strength or knowledge to use himself properly. Since I’m the only one who really works on it on a weekly basis with the help of a trainer, our progress has definitely suffered.
My wake up call:
Not only did my trainer point out that he’s looking skinnier and more undermuscled than normal (hello, heart attack, I like my horse fat, thankyouverymuch), she also said pointed out his “U” neck again, which just two months ago I was noticing how much better it had gotten. Getting him to stretch forward and down is definitely a priority to build that muscle, as well as keeping an eye on his weight.
Right now, my days to ride are Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Sundays being open to whoever has time to ride. Tuesdays are now lesson days, with me literally running out of class to make it as on time as possible. Thursdays and Sundays are taken up by my service at the moment, and my dad has been riding on Wednesdays. Which means I’ve had one day a week to ride. Which sucks.
Especially now that I’ve had my lesson and have things I need to and want to work on, I want to be at the barn. But I can’t because my schedule and Beau’s other riders make it difficult.
But, I’m staying positive. I’ve only got this week and next left of service then I can go back to riding at least twice a week. We’ve started looking for the perfect trailer. The spring show season was posted, and I’ve got a dressage show, work day, and combined test to hopefully prepare for.
Beau and I, although out of shape and dealing with a hard lesson, had a good ride in that he was listening and willing to try and do what I wanted. By the end, we had a couple of good moments, and I’m confident we can work back up to where we were.
Keep an eye out for more posts as we gain back our skills and fitness and move into show season!