Last night for my lesson I rode my trainer’s Lusitano gelding again. Very apropos since I leave for Brazil for work next week. This solid, gentleman of a horse is such a fun ride. He has work ethic for miles; he’s got some dressage skillz; and he is the perfect kind of “schoolmaster” in that he won’t give you anything unless you ask correctly for it but he doesn’t get offended about any of the mistakes. I would say that I want a horse exactly like him, but he is the one that HATES grooming of any kind, and though I know I sometimes complain about grooming (who doesn’t), I really do enjoy that part of the whole process and would love a horse that enjoyed it too!
I had been riding him in a jump saddle the past few weeks but last night I rode him in a dressage saddle. I don’t particularly want to admit this, but I think having to adjust my balance to a jump saddle and then switching back to the dressage saddle was really helpful for my seat. I think maybe I was stuck in a bit of a rut with my seat and body and the simple change of angles helped clarify a few things.
We did a lot of suppling exercises to warm up, alternating between shoulder-fore, shoulder-in, and some leg yield. My trainer constantly had to remind me to keep the left side of my torso tall because I kept collapsing that way when trying to use my right leg. Thinking of lengthening my side helped me more correctly weight my left seat bone and get him to step more underneath me and fill up the outside rein when tracking right. I also have a habit of bracing my outside leg especially during lateral work and I have to remind myself to bend that knee and not let that leg get stiff and creep out from underneath me.
We schooled walk-trot transitions and they were magical. The first couple times I asked for trot, I shouted, and he responded by shooting out in a very disconnected trot. We alternated between walk and trot and if he got fast or I lost the bend we would throw in a turn on the forehand or a few good steps of shoulder-in before moving back to the trot. After a number of transitions we got to a really nice point when I only had to tip my pelvis forward slightly to get a very lofty trot and tip it back to neutral to get a short, engaged walk. I could feel him really using his back and giving me a great place to sit where I felt in control of each of his steps with just a slight shift of weight. Magic.
No lesson next week, apologies in advance if it gets quiet around here. I’ll still be reading all of your new posts!!