Friday, March 13, 2009

Dressage Lesson

My lesson was fantastic. M, my instructor, is also a good friend and I knew he would be able to help me a lot with my Dressage riding. He kindly agreed to give me a lesson.

The first thing M did was drop my stirrups down two holes. He said he had wanted to do that since the first time he saw me ride last week. Previously, my position has been bunched up and I used my heels as my driving aid, rather then my seat. Next he had me turn my toes in so they pointed forward rather then out. Both these adjustments meant that I was sitting on the middle of my pelvis rather then on my butt (this is sometimes referred to as"the armchair position".) These adjustments also meant I felt like my ankes were going to pop out of their sockets at anytime. When I told him this he said I would soon get to used to it if I kept practicing. Since I wasn't used to having my stirrups so long and I was un-coordinated with them at that length, M took them away for part of the lesson. We did lots of work without them (and I'm feeling it now in my thighs and core) and my legs lengthened down a lot. M asked me to put my feet back into the stirrups later and he said they would probably feel too short now. And lo and behold they were, so he put them down another two holes and they were perfect. If someone had said to me that I could ride with holes 4 down from my original dressage length I would have told them to stop joking. Its amazing how much a change in position can make.

The entire lesson was about me retaining the right position and using my seat as aids. There was no forcing Jack into a frame or generally interfering with him at all. We literally did nothing but transitions the entire time and I loved it. I felt I improved a lot and Jacks transitions and the quality of his paces were way better then they ever have been.

Most of the lesson was great, except when my legs and arms decided to disconnect from my brain. My elbows started moving out and upwards given me the dreaded "chicken wings", my heels would start turing out and my eyes would drop. M would be calling "Toes in! Toes in! Keep your eyes up! What are those arms doing?" and I would try and try to get everything to go in the right places but they would just float off in their own direction. I felt like an absolute un-coordinated freak. It was really funny and M and I both laughed a lot.

Jack did really well throughout the whole lesson. He responded so well to all my seat aids and he really was using himself well. The quality of his paces improved ten fold. It really shows that when you use your body right, your horse has a way bigger chance to use himself correctly. Hopefully M will be able to give me a lesson in the near future so we can keep improving.

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