Welp, we did the clinic! After attacking the wind puff with some DMSO based cream, the heat magically vanished and the worry-wort inside me took a deep breath of relief. We got in maybe one decent dressage schooling and then clinic day was upon us!
I definitely cut my warm up time short (let’s be serious- what warm up time?) by arriving a mere 10 minutes before my scheduled ride (um, it was Rolex XC day!), but this gave us a good opportunity to talk to Brendan about what’s been going on
or not with Foster. I was hoping to get some confirmation of the lateral work we’ve been working on this winter, but it seems we had bigger fish to fry- the dreaded under neck.
After our lesson last year, I worked really hard to get this muscle softer and encourage Foster to use his bum to balance himself instead- then things fell apart a bit. Brendan wanted to see Foster go in a much deeper frame with his nose just in front of the point of his shoulder. We struggled for quite some time, and about half way through I felt some of the tension in his back melt away and he gave in to the new way of going.
While working on getting him deeper (and deeper and deeper), we tried the canter transitions, again asking him to stay round without popping up in front. Mostly we were unsuccessful, but there were definitely a couple attempts that were close. I think it’s safe to say Foster is finally fit enough to do this correctly, and I will be working hard on this in the coming weeks!
Lastly, Brendan got us focusing on riding forward and backward within the working trot. This will help us get closer to true lengthenings, although Brendan confirmed what myself (and Eliza, from our last lesson) thought, which is that he may never have a true, exuberant lengthening. If the trade off is a great brain, but no lengthening, I’ll take that trade any day!
All in all, a great lesson and it was really interesting to watch the video (props to A) afterwards. A great lesson, even if I felt like I could not ride through most of the lesson, and basic steering flew out the window when I was concentrating on Foster so much! I was having some serious issues with my jods sticking to the saddle (and causing the extra bit of the stirrup leather to bunch up underneath my leg) and with the excess of reins getting in my way constantly. New reins will be in our future I think, as this has happened a lot recently as I ride with a shorter rein! Otherwise though, we have some serious work to do, and I am thankful for the opportunity to squeeze in this much needed dressage lesson!
A video clip from the lesson:
In other pony news, Foster has pulled a shoe. And sometime this week I need to fit in a jump school, to get ready for our first ‘big’ Novice at CHP on the 11th! Gosh, it’s coming up fast!