|acting all grown up|
Last Sunday I took Valley to another dressage clinic at my friend Katies house with dressage rider and trainer Bri Johnson. This was our second clinic with Bri and Valleys third time off property. Like the good girl she is, she loaded right onto the trailer that morning. She does love to call, so she neighed a bit at first but quieted down on the road. We traveled alone this time and she traveled well.
Upon arrival, I unloaded her and tied to her to trailer with a hay net and some water. We hung out for a bit and just relaxed. I gave her a nice grooming and she enjoyed looking around at all the horses in various fields at Katies place. She was very content and well behaved at the trailer. Her temperament is pretty hard to beat. She is very green but so enjoyable to be around, she makes things pretty stress free.
|I just love her face :)|
I walked her around on a long rein for about 15-20 minutes before my lesson for warm up. She went into the ring and relaxed right away stretching down and marching around while the horse before us was finishing up. She was well behaved around the horse and only called a few times when she finished up and left the ring.
We started working and focused on changing her frame and having her yield away from my leg. The idea is for her to be able to carry herself in three frames, a long and low, medium, and then a working frame. Of course at this moment in our training they are not going to be perfect, but as we continue to work they will become stronger and more correct. Moving the frame throughout the ride, and throughout each exercise prevents her from getting a stiff and set neck, like you see so many Thoroughbreds have in dressage. It keeps the neck supple and loose, and prevents tension and also improves rideability.
This goes right along with how my regular dressage coach has me ride, she always says the horse should be able to go into any frame you ask it to, and have the same connection throughout all these frames. You do not let the horse stretch unless the horse takes the rein and maintains the connection, otherwise all connection is just lost. Of course you can also work to teach the horse to loose the connection and maintain suppleness when you recollect, but that is another thing altogether.
From the start Bri commented that her rhythm had improved from our last lesson. She has a very good steady tempo, and maintains this even when she calls. It allows me to work on more advanced things like her change of frame on a relatively green horse. We incorporated this into many things, circles, serpentine, transitions, and down the long and short sides. I could feel Valley becoming more supple already and her trot really felt quite nice.
We also worked on pushing her around my inside leg, moving her body around and having her move off the leg. There was definite improvement here too but it still needs more work and is something I will start to do more of at home. We didn't do any canter work as I haven't been cantering her much at home. The ground is hard and slippery and she is barefoot so I just don't see the point at the moment when she can't balance herself without me worrying about her slipping. If we ever get some rain I can start upping her work into more demanding canter work.
Overall the lesson wasn't too complex, but it was focused on a few very useful exercises that showed a change in Valley from the start to finish. This is something I am going to incorporate into my rides with all my horses, I think Penny could especially benefit from it. I really enjoy working with Bri, she always has a new tool for me to try that brings results. I recommend trying a clinic or lesson with her if you get the chance.
It was really quite hot that day so Valley got a nice bath after our lesson. She even stood tied to the trailer while I hosed her head to toe. She really is quite the little - er- not so little horse. I'm really looking forward to whats ahead for us.
|filling out like crazy!|