Monday, January 20, 2014

That's your Horrible Canter?

Clinic day!!

I got to the barn nice and early so I had plenty of time to clean tack and get Mollie ready.  I tidied up her mane, it didn't necessarily need to be pulled it was just a smidge longer than I like.  I trimmed her whiskers as well and was reminded I still need a new pair of clippers.  Mine are long dead and I've been getting by with one of these babies:

Got Mollie all tacked up and put her in her snaffle bridle as I had a feeling whatever I was working on today wouldn't require the double.  I find that first lessons with a new trainer are more of a "getting to know you" session as opposed to actually working on anything technical.  I also didn't feel like explaining why my low level horse goes in a double bridle to yet another person... just not worth it for an hour lesson.  Got on and let Molls walk around on a long rein while the lesson before me finished up, and it gave me some time to listen to L, and see what she was all about.

It was very much a "mainstream" dressage lesson but it's always good to ride with new people, I can almost always take something away from the lesson.  She had me warm Mollie up while she watched and she immediately commented, "Her trot is adorable!" I replied with, "You haven't seen us canter yet."

I'm not always "woe is me and my riding abilities", cantering is just notoriously Mollie's hardest gait.

L eventually had me pick up a canter and said, "That's your horrible canter?"  It did make me feel better about Mollie and our skills, and I was glad we didn't look like total noobs in front of the new lady.  L was super positive about our riding which was nice to hear, and overall I think it was a good lesson.  In an attempt to be organized and put things into compartments I'll leave you with a list.

- L was very positive, and it was nice to feel like my horse and I were competent enough not to look like losers in front of someone new who had never seen either of us work before
- L had me ride off the back of my thighs, as opposed to holding with the front, which gave Mollie a little more "breathing room" to lift through her shoulders and get lighter up front
- I did feel that we made progress by the end of the lesson
- I was able to focus on my position and get some nice tips on my alignment without my horse being a total tool
- For the first time in quite some time I felt like (and was told that) I could take my horse to a dressage show and do halfway decently
- L asked me a lot of questions, which I like.  It puts the responsibility on me to really think about why we're doing something as opposed to just doing it because she said so.

- L was definitely very positive, but when I take a lesson I want to be pushed, and I didn't quite feel like anything she had us do was overly difficult
- I feel like our skills were slightly under-represented.  Yes we got some productive work done but I like to think Mollie and I are capable of some technical dressage exercises and we really just worked on a circle.

I don't have any photos or video from the lesson, so instead I'll leave you with a video of my horse putting herself away because it's cah-ute.

Now if I could get her to close the door behind herself we'd be all set ;)


  1. What level do you and the mare do? I will admit to assuming you guys were up there in the levels with the double.

    Sounds like the lesson was lovely! It's always nice to take away some good thoughts from a clinic :)

    1. I honestly can't say what "level" we are, because I haven't shown/ridden an actual dressage test in several years. Looking at the tests I'd say we could probably pull off a 2nd level test... and we're schooling parts of 3rd (half pass, collected trot, turns on the haunches, etc.)