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 ;)