When should I start lessons with Allie? We are just starting to canter under saddle now, albeit very awkwardly. I think I want stop, walk, trot and canter solid before I take her anywhere. I get the feeling that I look terrible on her at the moment. I guess this will improve as she becomes more balanced.
We set up a little 20x40m arena at the back of our property (where it is mostly sand) with dressage letters. I bought the cones with the letters from the saddlery, then we needed extra cones to mark out the corners and one long side (that is not next to the fence line). So we went and bought cheap plastic plant pots from Bunnings, then spray-painted them white, then used tent pegs to secure all the 'cones' into the ground. All up, cost me about $80. It helps so much with schooling, just because there is a track and we can concentrate on the horse and not so much where we will be going next. You should have seen the two of them snorting, shying and carrying on when we first rode them in the arena though! They got used to it quite quickly, and it was mainly Allie who was doing the shying. Nearly had me off a couple of times.
Allie is very very stiff to the right. When doing little exercises to loosen her up (small circles, playing 'noodle-horse' where I ask her to give to the bit to the right then the left and follow with her body like doing mini bending poles, serpentines, etc..) she is fine to the left, but is resistant to the right. She does this funny thing where she does a little skip, like she wants to go into trot, but she doesn't break gait, when going to the right. I guess that is her telling me 'it's too hard Mum!!!'. Yesterday I just persisted with it, and she did improve quite dramatically towards the end of the schooling session. I have worked with her every day this week while I have been on leave, she has been good. I did have to up both their feeds though.
Gracie is doing well too, she is starting to really give to the bit and step under herself well. It's nice to see some progress there, because she can be a massive handful. She is the brave one though. Gracie is the one who goes first when there is something scary. I think that is because she is curious, and we have encouraged it. Allie will be brave one day too, I just have to cultivate it in her.
So, any suggestions on exercises to help my one-sided green horse?
And when should I start lessons with a dressage trainer with her?