Monday, September 5, 2016

Generous: Lesson Recap 9/5

Gotta make sure that the other horses haven't forgotten about their princess
So if you're confused about why I'm writing a lesson recap post about a lesson on Labor Day when its a holiday and I mentioned that I'm taking lessons on Tuesdays I was pretty surprised as well. People who knew Jane mentioned that she likes to give feedback when you're riding and that the extra advice is nice but that's pretty common. I'm used to instructors stopping by if I'm riding and giving some suggestions and moving on. I figured this would be the same.

However, today while I was grooming Katai Jane showed up and I was incredibly impressed when she came to me, told me that she'd been thinking about some of the things I'd mentioned about Katai and she had a couple of ideas. First, the fact that she trusted my opinion about my horse and didn't just think "oh this girl doesn't know anything about dressage, I'll just see what they actually need to work on in our lesson" meant a lot. The fact that she'd been spending time making a plan and then talked it through with me meant even more.

We chatted about both Katai's reluctance to give to aids and not just be extremely resistant and then about her weight. I think that Jane thought that I would be offended that she thinks that Katai is heavier than she should be but I was just very thankful and happy that she sees it as well. She wants Katai to lose 50 pounds or so and I'm completely on the same page. We agreed that it's both diet and exercise so I've got an additional reason to be motivated to ride/work her at least 5 days per week.

Then she followed me to the arena. I figured she'd stick around for a few minutes and then go back to doing barn chores but instead she sat down on the mounting block and proceeded to give me a 30-45 minute lesson. It was so amazing that I actually lost track of the time.

Oh, and Jane really likes the new saddle! Both how it fits Katai and where it puts me
Ignore the saddle pad, I'd put it back too far, it's not the saddle's fault
We're going back to basics for both me and Katai and I'm really, really happy and impressed with how Jane was systematically adjusting and fixing things that I had no idea I was doing wrong. I had a few big light bulb moments when she explained thing including how to actually, properly do a downward transition. It's not that L hadn't, she just explained it the way that you would to someone who already understands the concept but the last time I had an instructor actually teach me how to do a downward transition, back when I first started riding, the explanation was to basically pull on the reins.

My favorite thing that we worked on, besides just identifying a few more things that I'm doing incorrectly with my body, were walk/trot transitions. They've been ugly so I've been avoiding them and just had absolutely no idea how to "fix" them. Jane gave us a good start today!

Basically she wants me to slow everything down, no more pushing Kati forward, just ask her to be in the gait that I'm looking for and then let her figure out her rhythm and speed. We also worked on having leg contact and having Katai just accept it. She told me to feel like that, as well as the contact on the reins is a nice hug. If Katai pulls against my hands I shouldn't let her but as soon as she's soft again I should go back to the hug. It was a good description and meant a lot to have her really get me and Katai and figure out where we struggle with our partnership and to start working on that right away.

I thanked her profusely after and asked if she still wanted to have a lesson tomorrow and she sort of laughed and said of course! She said that all of her students get lots of extra lessons. Still, I couldn't believe that she took all of that extra time, on a holiday to sit and help me. I'm so happy to be here! I'll recap my lesson tomorrow as well although I suspect it will be similar.


  1. Your new coach sounds amazing. It's wonderful when they really listen. I'm excited for you!

    1. So is so incredibly amazing. She is the best teacher I've ever had and I've had quite a few teachers.

  2. Jane sounds wonderful! The more lessons the better :)

  3. That's awesome! I would love having an instructor like that. Sounds like you ended up in a great new place :)

    1. She is one in a million! I love it here so far