Yup, I taught Jethro how to play frisbee! I think he may be part dog...
Posted by The Moody Mare on Friday, October 24, 2014
In more Tucker-related news, I've had great rides since my lesson. The sign of a great teacher, I think, is that you can hear their voice in your head as you work through and try to figure it out. As I've mentioned, I don't get stuff right away. I've never been a natural. At anything. (Except maybe drinking? Does that count?)
Last night I wanted to work on that transition from working canter to collected canter, and if that went well, transition from lengthened canter back to working canter. Overall it was a success. I warmed up at the trot making my goal "short reins" (despite several protests - Tucker thinks short reins are terrible - they give me way too much control). Amazingly, when your reins are the right length, your position is better, your horse is straighter, your leg yields are easier, and your transitions are cleaner. Who knew?
I practiced moving his wither to the inside using my left knee and thigh at the trot, tracking right, and when I felt like I could turn off the rail across the ring using only that aid, without moving my left hand or trying to neck rein him (repeat after me: there's no neck reining in dressage), we moved up to the canter. I had to work at the canter at using my left thigh without standing in my stirrups, which is harder than it sounds, but overall, straight horse. I worked on three to four collected canter strides at a time, on the circle. When that went well, I worked on collected strides on the long side of the ring.
When I moved the exercise up to doing lengthening/working canter transitions, Tucker decided he would show me how these things are done and did five (yes, five) lead changes down the long side of the arena.
Lengthening while staying straight is really hard! Collecting is stupid! Look what I can do that is so much better than either of the things you want me to do! This is what dressage horses DO, I've SEEN it! These are called tempis, just go with it!
It took some doing, but I convinced him that while I was incredibly impressed, I'm not nearly an advanced enough rider to handle that kind of stuff, so could he please just stay straight and lengthen his canter and then come back to a working canter? [I held off from telling him he looked absolutely ridiculous, and tempis do not typically involve being able to see a bell boot on either side of one's ear.] I did lots of more subtle transitions within the canter until I felt like I had control of what lead we were on, and then asked for the full lengthening again, and it went well.
We worked on our walk pirouettes tracking left to prepare for the left lead canter and I think we are starting to get it, although I really wish I had a mirror to practice in front of. The left lead canter itself was excellent. I practiced giving my left rein for a stride to see if we fell apart or whether he was actually straight, and I think it's improving. And the collected canter strides (only three or four at a time, for now) felt really good, hopefully they looked good too.
All in all, very happy with our ride and I feel ready for our show. Particularly impressed that first Goose (his bromance) and then Beejay (his turnout buddy) left the ring and Tucker kept right on working. Like an adult. Because that's what he is. That's right.