Friday, March 13, 2015

Waiting for it to Click

Through the gauntlet.
I had a dressage lesson on Tuesday evening and...I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it went well? I think we made some progress? If anything it solidifies the fact that dressage is confusing and hard. Not that I really needed a reminder of that.

During this lesson we worked on an exercise where I started Maggie off on a 15-20 m circle with the correct bend. Then I changed the direction we were tracking and went into a smaller 10 m circle but did not change the bend from the original larger circle. So we were counter bending on the smaller circle. Or at least trying to. We started out at the walk and when I went to change directions and keep the counter bend Maggie was like, "Whaaaaat?? I'm just gonna keep going the same way."

She has a chin sweat problem.
For whatever reason, we did better at the trot, but I was really struggling to keep all my aids straight in my mind...

So for correct bend, I need my inside leg at the girth and my outside leg behind it. My inside hand needs to hold contact to create the bend and flex inwards. My outside hand needs to hold contact too to keep her shoulder from drifting out, but I need to give with my elbow so that she can stretch through that side and allow the bend. 

Then when we counter bend... I keep the same hand position, but swap which leg is at the girth and which is behind it....or was it keep the legs the same and swap the hands? I think it was legs...

And don't forget about my seat bones...keep the outside one back and the inside one forward...or was it outside forward and inside back???

I stopped several times throughout the lesson and tried to get clarification from my instructor and I thought I understood her each time she'd explain it to me again. But then every time we went and tried to counter bend it seemed like I had one thing or another backwards. I really couldn't tell if I was getting the right response from Maggie. She's just as new to this as I am and I know that as green rider/green horse pair things are going to be a little harder and slower for us, but I really feel like I'm just missing something right now. I'm waiting for it all to come together and click.

Very tired.
Perhaps I need to take a step back and read some biomechanics books or articles or something? Something that'll help to solidify the basics. Anyone have any suggestions?


  1. sounds like a frustrating lesson (and difficult exercise)... i'm super new to dressage too and am struggling to find regular instruction (which we desperately need), tho we've done a few sessions with a biomechanics clinician who comes up once a month during the summer and that's been super helpful...

    mostly i seem to do best when the trainer keeps it really simple and lets me feel how each aid individually affects the horse so that i can start figuring out how to put the aids together. good luck!

  2. I don't do a lot of counterbending, but I find it helpful to warm up Miles. At first, I started doing it at the walk going straight. So, tracking left I would come around the end of the arena on the correct bend, on the long side I would get straight and let Miles naturally straighten his bend and then ask for some counter bend.

    We've worked up to being able to do this at the trot and on a circle now. Maybe Maggie just needs to start more slowly with this exercise, if it's confusing/difficult for her?