Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Totally thrilled by... dressage?!?!? How did *that* happen? >;-P

(from GRS blog)

Alright so it's all of 9:30 am and I should be doing stalls. But guess what? The boss said they could wait till after typing this post :) She's kewl that way.

So if you take a hot-blooded horse, say a TB... And cross it with a cold-blooded horse, say a Percheron... (totally hypothetical here of course :) Do you get a warm-blooded horse? hahaha cause I have to tell you, Mr. Saurus certainly seems to think so!

Ok now you have to understand, I *love* the little horses. Given the choice, I've always ridden the little horses. The sports car model. See how excited I was the day Arthur lent me his sports car model to ride in a clinic last fall? And, well, anybody who knew Zel will get it. But the fates being what they are, I'm usually actually better at riding the big ones. Classic eh? But since I don't enjoy them nearly as much I stick to the little ones and we work it out :)

But today, Jack reminded me why people like the big horses. There's definitely something to be said for being able to sit deep, wrap your legs around with no effort whatsoever, and float. TBs you just can't put your leg on like that (at least, not the ones I tend to ride :).

So for whatever reason I decided to ride Jack first today. And score one for the draft side of him - there was no temper-tantrum or dismay about me changing the schedule. I kept waiting for it, but it just didn't happen. Sweet. Good pony :) So we walk around doing some bending and he's pretty consistently through from the beginning which is nice. Some above/below the bit - we're still working on steady appropriate contact (given his complete lack of consistent training *my bad* he's doing remarkably well! And credit to his part-boarders Rowan and Steph who've been helping him out :) but for the most part good. Go into trot and let him warm up. A bit of a tank, but not bad. Really work on the suppling and pretty soon he's staying reasonably consistent. Sweet.

Then the canter - our first canter was just to get him going (amused me to no end when he randomly felt the need to jump the sunbeam!) But all of a sudden that forward turned to up, and w/o really intending to ask for it he's cantering around like a super-star dressage pony. And balanced. Really balanced.

So discretion being the better part of valour, I brought him back before he could fall apart - while all was still good. Canter-trot transition doesn't exist yet so took me a good 10 strides to get the trot rebalanced (kinda like a freight-train running downhill!) But what I was really impressed by is once I had the trot, he was totally and entirely responding to my seat. Which of course lead me to see just what he could do *g* HUGE trot, but connected and loose and light. Losgelassenheit from the draft - sorry wb! - greenbean. Yeah, I didn't really believe it either :) Fortunately for me we had an audience, so I know I didn't imagine it!

Randomly decided to ask for a turn on the forehand - mostly to see if he'd figure it out (usually I teach that in hand first) but sure enough, he thought about it for a moment, stepped back, got corrected, moved correctly, got big pats, and then was totally fine with doing it over again and the other direction.

From here, with his hind quarters a little more under control, we moved onto some w/t transitions, which until today have been more a case of "make the correct gait happen" rather than actually riding a transition between gaits. It took him all of two tries to figure out what I wanted. Friggin smart horse. N then he had it - we could repeat it and it just kept getting better. W/t only - he's not quite strong enough to maintain through the canter depart yet -- but give me a few weeks *g*

So yeah, I'm pretty thrilled. And thinking since my abs are now toast, the other two horses will be hacking or jumping today >;-P

And it's back to stalls for me :)

ps - if you want an interesting article technically on Losgelassenheit, but also on training in general: My fav line: "Loving owners with the best intentions can train their horses to become veritable little monsters...."


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