On Friday I had booked a lesson with a fantastic dressage instructor for the first time. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side and the heavens opened before our lesson and I don’t think it let up for the entire time! Needless to say, when the lesson was over and I managed to peel myself out of the saddle, I was so wet I felt like I had been swimming in all my clothes!
Despite the weather, the lesson itself was hugely productive. Straight away she picked up on lots of small things I was doing which was making life more difficult for me and Scottie.
Scottie has been very on his toes recently with lots of silly spooking, so I have been riding quite defensively. But she pointed out that my legs are too far forward, meaning that I can’t feel Scottie under my leg very well. I have already noticed a big difference in how easy it is to get Scottie moving forwards with my legs just slightly further back.
She also made me change how I hold my hands so that I am giving a clearer message to Scottie as to where his head should be. While my hands are still, when he is spooky/looky I keep still and don’t do anything to distract him. I also have a habit of when he does relax and drop down into the contact I then follow him with my hands. She kept reminding me to keep my elbows in my side and just push forwards.
We also did a lot of work in canter. She told me to only canter him on a circle as when I go straight it’s too easy/tempting to pull them to the outside. I was told to make the transition as quiet as possible and then really push him forwards. As he is currently not going forwards so feels really unbalanced. And actually riding him over the weekend I found a massive improvement in his canter! So really pleased with his progress.
I was also told not to be afraid to ask him for more. If he is going nicely don’t just let him get on with it. Ask for a bit more bend, or bit more impulsion. That way we can keep improving.
Overall, it was a really good lesson and I am excited to see how much these small changes can improve our work!