Despite the fact that it was even colder and snowier than last week, I was determined to ride. It’s strange how much I miss it after skipping just one week when I went years without putting a foot in the stirrup. But I was certainly itching to ride this week, and nothing was going to stop me!
I did keep the ride to under 30 minutes, mostly because after about five I couldn’t feel my nose anymore. Thankfully the rest of my winter riding gear keeps me nice and warm (or as warm can be expected when it’s below minus 25). I’m sure it also helped that Luc kept me working hard for the entire ride. And not for the reason you might be thinking if you’ve read any of my recent blogs.
Luc wasn’t all stressed out in the arena today. Yay! In fact, he gave me very little trouble at all down at the scary end – just a bit of slowing down heading into his least favourite corner. That meant I could really focus on the ride, and not his reactions.
We started off with some circles, both at the walk and trot. Luc has a tendency to get stiff through his shoulders, so bending can sometimes be a bit of challenge. I also worked on some halts and rein backs, which Luc nailed, because well let’s face it, he’s always happy to go slower (or not move at all) if given the choice!
Then I moved on to lateral work. Luc’s leg yields are great at the walk, okay at the trot, and this week I even attempted them at the canter. Surprisingly that went decently well too. He didn’t really crossover, but he did move away from my leg pressure, and that’s all I wanted from him considering he’s never really been asked to work that way in the canter on a regular basis.
It was kind of fun having a dressage day. I tried out his haunches-in (good) and his shoulder-in (less good). He may not have tons of fancy buttons, but he always tries to figure out what you want and does his best to answer the questions you’re asking. And to be honest, I’m sure I’m not always asking those questions in the best way. I was a hunter/jumper rider, and while all of my past coaches did put emphasis on correct movement, suppleness and impulsion, I’ve never had any hard core dedicated dressage training. I think I could really benefit from it! And I’m sure that Luc would too.
I should also maybe point out that I didn’t know when I got on that I was going to focus so much on dressage, so I didn’t bother to change my stirrup length. They were my sister Jen’s jumping length. I’d love to say that because she’s four inches shorter than I am that they were way to short, but sadly her legs are longer than mine (thanks genetics!) so were the right length for jumping. I’m betting my aids would have been a lot clearer for Luc had I taken the time to lengthen them. Oh well, next time!
All in all I’m calling the ride a success. Luc wasn’t stressed out, he attempted everything I asked of him, and I had a great time. I can’t wait for next week. Maybe I’ll have another dressage day – unless of course I give in to the voice in my head that seems to only want to jump, jump, jump!