Its been awhile since my last lesson with Sue. This is mostly due to Reds recent lameness. With the ODE that happened on Sunday (I'll write about that in my next post) I decided that a lesson was well in order. Since Area games was on we weren't able to do Show Jumping so we did a Dressage lesson.
I've found that since I am an older teenage rider people assume I know things about the basics of riding. But since I only started riding properly two years ago i.e. not just hacking around the farm, I really don't know much at all. Unfortunately this means some instructors just don't teach me things or they are very suprised when they ask me to do something and I have no idea how. For example recently an instructor commented in a group lesson at Rally that I don't attempt to keep Red rounded and on the bit. She couldn't believe it when I said I had never been taught how to really do it (I must state here that even after she found out this help she didn't try to tell me how to do it). So this is what Sue and I (or should I say Red and I) worked on during this lesson.
I know the theory in getting a horse to become round and on the bit (I've read enough books) but when I had tried to do it nothing really happened. He would sometimes stay on the bit in walk but there was no point in even trying in trot and canter. My friends would try and tell me how to do it but nothing ever seemed to work. I explained all this to Sue at the start of our lesson. She explained the balance between the leg and the hand and likened it to the clutch and accelerator of the car. How you must have the right amount of balance between the both for it to work. So I tried. Nothing really happened, he would come down onto the bit but would not stay for long. Finally Sue resorted to getting on. She walked and trotted him around and finally she figured it out! He needs a lot more leg then hand and once hes on the bit he needs a matinence leg for him to stay there.
So I got back on. We worked consistenly on the bit on each rein at a trot and a canter. He was worse on his right side (not surprising) but his left rein was amazing. I found that Red gives me two options when it comes to this 1. Rounded and slow or 2. Not rounded and forward. Hes incredibly slow when he comes on the bit, especially in the trot. My legs ached as I tried to get him to move forward. Sue then handed me a dressage whip. Now this is another basic I've never been taught. I don't know how to use a whip. She showed me how to hold it and it definitely worked. Red was on the bit and moving forward nicely. Unfortunately I couldn't keep my hand from moving and the whip waggled around a bit which made Red a bit upset. I guess I'm going to have to work on that.
In the canter I was rocking too much. I used to have the problem where my butt wouldn't stay on the saddle. Once I got that sorted I started the rocking. Sue figured I was overcompensating with the butt thing and it caused my upper body to rock. She explained to me in theory how my body was supposed to work in the canter and I don't know how it happened but when I put Red into the canter it went perfectly! I didn't even think about it. It was like my brain had cemented what Sue had said and then just did it! After that we just worked on Red cantering on his right leg and then we finished up.
Coming up: Henderson ODE Post