Saturday, 20 February 2010

Still waiting

Belle just below our garden this afternoon.
Well we are still waiting for Belle night after night..........that is Belle relaxes the night away curled up or stretched out flat whilst we wake at ten minute intervals to check the monitor. Belle potters of each morning with the troupe to what they must think of as the grazing grounds and we spend the day waiting for the next sleepless night - I suppose that is a fair division of labour!
Dani had three days training with PMG this week for the first time for five months
I've been mostly hacking in the deteriorating weather conditions of this winter, working with the aim of relaxation and calm with Dani's back raised and ribs lowered - covering many miles over the Cornish lanes meeting other horses and riders, stopping to chat (although Danni sometimes joins in the conversation with a series of hums )Looking for freedom of movement and length of stride and throwing away the contact so that Danni balanced himself.
Using the straight bridle paths to practise the walk to canter transitions and then back to a free rein walk before gathering up again to strike of on the other leg. But serious dressage has passed us by so we approached the first lesson without too many expectations but with the hope that we had laid the ground work for a secure summer of work.In the first session peter reviewed the working in technique to engage the hind leg with the emphasis on letting go of the inside rein, feeling for a forward swinging stride that carried us lightly forward in a calm and relaxed way. The transitions that came towards the end of the lesson carried a twist in the tail on walk canter trot walk canter without the horse shortening the outline particularly in the final transition (which was when the rider was about to go to sleep )
Day two
The lesson went well today - Danni worked in on a loose rein inviting him to work forward into the rein but letting go as much as possible. With a swingy forwards trot established on the twenty metre circle, it was time to trot a square, using the outside rein and turning my shoulders to turn and a loose inside rein to check up on me.......Next came shoulder in on the square back to straight ( I straightened too sharply) but then followed by a turn across the square again using my weight and outside rein. Trot canter transitions very forward releasing the inside rein with two or three around the circle eventually simple change then repeat before the main session of work which was all in canter............... turning up the three quarter line and leg yielding out (still in canter) progressing to turning up the centre line leg yielding across two or three strides before half passing back, before riding straight forwards ( I was crimson by now but Danni had settled into a relaxed easy stride) across the diagonal; finally canter up the centre line and halt to finish - a BUSY lesson. And suddenly I had a dressage horse to ride.
Rider corrections - let go of the horse, let go of the inside rein keep the paces forward and in the final canter work push the pelvis forwards more. The school area was progressed from the intensive twenty metre exercise to the entire school as collection improved and Peter said it was the best he had seen Danni Canter!! and Danni stayed calm throughout with no Dobby ears, bucks or kicks!
I wonder? is it by initially displacing or should I say mobilising the horses lateral core balance that more response is achieved in lateral work?? Should have asked Peter
Day three
What a disaster. The sun shone - how lovely I thought idly gazing out of the kitchen window at a horse trotting around the school the other side of the valley. Still I made myself busy for the morning until Dani's lesson at 100............the phone rang "are you coming for your lesson today" said Paul .......It's 1000 That's ten not one - nightmare Danni was stuffed into his tack and I departed at a brisk trot for the village past Dani's mares looked on in astonishment over the hedge, at Hubbies hurry with mane flying. We just managed to get there for the last twenty minutes with red faced apologies. And as the landrover had broken down on day one Charles had to run across the front field to get there too.
Thank you for being so kind to us Peter and retrieving the situation with a well chosen session of work on shoulder in examining the weighting of my pelvis and deepening of my inside leg. It was a shame and I felt I had let Danni and peter down, as Danni was tuned to the minute to work more seriously on the last day but the rider had better learn to tell the time!
Today I owed Danni a long walk in the countryside and took him out for a couple of hours- he gave a very nice walk canter transitions as we passed through the first farm and when he stiffened I remembered Peter's advise "sometimes you have to talk yourself into it" and rode more positively forwards for a fantastic balance..........just before the most powerful leap over an apparently bottomless "in-danni's-veiw" puddle. Danni was very pleased with himself in harnessing his fact I'd swear he had swerved to get a good line to jump the puddle rather than go around! Definitely proof of the pudding - just need to do it in the school!
Well back to the monitor - we may have a foal or a mechanic to mend the landrover before long but i don't think I'll count on it!