Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Road Trip Lesson # 2
I did it again! I hitched up my horse trailer, got my horse on it (with some help this time), and had a FABULOUS lesson!
Ollie wasn't as cooperative about getting on the trailer this time as he was last time. One of the boarders at the barn mentioned that he probably realized it wasn't so great last time so he wasn't going to be as cooperative about getting on. This friend (the other boarder) is a fantastic and insightful horseman so I valued her input. I think she is exactly on the mark. I needed help getting him on the trailer after my lesson too! That surprised me because I figured he'd be all about going home. Just when you think you have them figured out, you realize you don't...
At any rate, despite the delay in loading, he was very good everywhere else! He wasn't nearly as nervous at my instructors farm. We could actually work on things. He settled down fairly quickly and easily. We worked on varying the gaits. So I had him in a slow trot and would increase it and bring it back down. He was very good about it. Ollie is very sensitive and it really takes very little to get him to respond to my aids. It's so much fun to ride!
Ollie did get bugged eyed at things once in awhile but he doesn't bolt, he just bends his body the opposite way of the offensive object. But he still goes by it because I'm asking him to. It's just not with a pretty and correct bend. I'll take it.
When Ollie was working his best he was hitting it out of the ball park. Julie, my instructor, told me that he's like a sports car. He can turn on a dime, he's well balanced, he's very sensitive. When he relaxed into the bit, relaxed his back and swung his legs freely underneath, Julie shouted out "Now there is your FANCY horse!" I know I'm biased but I have to say that Ollie is a very beautiful mover. There is nothing like it when we are both on it! Julie repeatedly tells me to bend my legs. As soon as I do, my seat become much better and Ollie will be the first to tell me it's better. He will swing his legs better and is more rhythmic and easy tempo. I get so thrilled with those moments! I want more of them and it keeps me working on my riding!
Ollie was being such a good boy, and listening to me so well that we decided on doing some canter work. We worked on our transitions. They still need a lot of work but I did get it down to some 30 steps before we relaxed to about 10. That's improvement and I'll take it! The one thing I noticed and got chills about was at the moment I sat back... I immediately freed up his shoulders and what do you think happened? The energy in his canter went from pulling forward from the front end to becoming circular and rocking in action. His canter slowed down a ton and his shoulders came up. So his forward energy actually seemed to go up and around rather than flat and pulling. It was so cool! Ollie has all the right moves if only I could keep out of his way!
Needless to say, I'm very excited about our progress. In our lesson, I learned that he will settle down, and we can do some really great stuff. My goal is to get to some small dressage shows at the Kentucky Horse Park this winter. They are called their Snowbird series. I believe there is a show about once a month through the winter. I think this is a very attainable goal and a good introduction for me and Ollie. So I have finally set a show goal! YIKES! But I'm excited!
In the meantime, Ollie is going to learn how to load himself into a horse trailer so he won't make me late again... John Lyons training here we go!