Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Plan

My wonderful friend Linda gave Allie and I a lift a few weekends ago to go to a lesson with dressage instructor Ann Serrao. Ann has a property just a 10 minute float ride away from me, and my place is almost on the way to Ann's for Linda. Perfect!
My husband Andrew held Allie for me for a sec while we waited for Linda.

He luffs her. :)

First Linda rode her lovely arab warmblood gelding Houdini (Hoodie). She has been taking him to Ann's for 3 or so years, and I think he just looks amazing. She has done really well with him. She is competing him at novice and is just about to bump him up to elementary (he is schooling elementary at home). 

While Linda rode, I watched. My horse was very worried to be off property.


 I hopped on and got her used to the arena while trying to stay out of Linda's way as she finished up.

She liked looking at herself in the mirror. Must have been admiring her mule ears...

Talking to Ann about Allie's history, and our goals.

I was warned by Linda that the nest 12 months in Allie's dressage training will be so boring I may want to take up team penning instead. We spent 45 minutes working on Allie being soft and giving to the bit 100% of the time. No exceptions. Mainly, it was all me getting used to timing, when to reward, and getting used to the feeling of the moments when she gives correctly. It must have been boring to watch, but I have to admit I got a tear in my eye because we clicked.

Ann showing me what to do.

Allie does not agree that this dressage thing is a common goal for us.
Banana neck!


Harumph. Fine.

She started to understand what I wanted.

Ann said "I would be more than happy if all we get today is one step forward while she is soft". Allie surprised us by actually taking many steps while being soft! This is why I teared up, my dumb galoomph of a horse is actually quite trainable and 'got' it.

I liked Ann. I expected a dressage instructor to get me to shorten my reins. Instead she told me to lengthen them, as Allie is so young and needs to stretch forward and out.

Fin. Good girl!!!

I was so pleased with her. So now, the plan. At home, once or twice a week schooling, being 100% consistant with softness, giving, asking long and low and out, building muscles and settling brains. Then, Saturdays are a tiny bit of schooling (to make sure her brains are there) and then FUN! We had an awesome road ride last Saturday (just around the block). They were so good, ignoring cranes and dogs and speeding (!!) cars and deer and trucks and cantering up hills and and and they are just going to me the most level headed, quiet, bombproof mares once they grow up, honestly. They were just great. :)

As it is winter, I am not going to set myself unrealistic goals when it comes to schooling her during the week. I am not going to want to set up flood lights and school in a tiny little uneven yard 4 nights a week. I will be bored, she will be bored, we will both get sour and it will not be beneficial. She is still only 4 and a half, it is not going to kill her to take it relatively easy over winter, and then come summer, we will have plenty of daylight to ride. Then, next winter we will have a float by then and can haul over to the indoor that we took them to recently for schooling on a regular basis if we got bored at home. Plus I think I may send her to a proffesional dressage trainer for some training for maybe 2-4 weeks to kickstart ourselves next winter.

Linda is having another lesson in a month's time with Ann. I will go if we have walk & trot while being soft down pat by then, if not, I can always work on it more and go back to Ann's a little later.



EnduranceRiderDiaries said...

I have some wonderful Philippe Karl DVDs I can lend you that cover the basics of teaching a horse to accept contact, starting on the ground and continuing undersaddle. Let me know if you want to borrow them :)

Funder said...

She has beautiful ears; don't you pick on her!

Do all of yall Aussies ride in eventing vests all the time, or is that an instructor preference?

Lisa said...

A lot of us do Funder, but it's not really an instructor preference, it's my preference. I never used to ride in one, but when Allie started rearing I thought I would get one. I have too much to lose if I get hurt doing something I love so much.

I fell off the other day, but it was the one time I wasn't wearing my vest! Lucky it wasn't a serious fall. It was off Gracie too, the 'safer' of the two, typical.