Friday, October 7, 2016

Catch Up: Lesson Recap 10/4 and Other Catch Up

Sorry for the recent lack of posts but something really exciting has been going on in my personal life. I may be a little quieter for a while but should be back in full swing soon! At any rate I want to recap this week’s lesson before I entirely forget what we talked about.

The focus this week again was canter. Later in the lesson Jane said something that made me so happy and that’s that me and Katai’s trot is really good, our walk is mostly controlled (when we don’t have angry mare hormones to deal with), and our leg yields are getting really good so she wants out canter to catch up. This is so, so encouraging for me because we’ve never been at a place where we have such consistently good trot much less actually even having any sort of lateral work at all. With that being said we’ve worked through the worst of the flailing at the canter and it’s starting to get consistent as well. The amount of change in Katai (and let be honest, in my riding) is just amazing to me and I’ve only been at this barn for a month now. I can’t even imagine where we’ll be in the spring!
She's just totally amazing
To start off we worked on getting Katai to really bend all through her body on a loose rein and to take the contact down. She tends to be tight through the back and in her neck so this is really good for me to learn. What was really interesting was that after doing this in each direction, when we switched back she did this quick, little shake a few times with her head and neck and swished her tail around a couple of times. She was clearly releasing something and she has NEVER done anything like that before. We did each direction again, got a few more twitches out of her, and then went to trot.

We focused on getting my body in the right place and getting me to bend my knees as I sit. I have ALWAYS struggled with being in a chair seat and now to try to correct that I’m compensating by perching since it feels like that will get my legs more under me. On Tuesday when Jane had me correctly sit back more on my pockets my legs shot out in front of me again so we focused on that for a while. As that was getting better she had me do some leg yield down the center line and really focus on staying behind the movement and not trying to ride too much when I feel Katai quitting. I need more practice with this but it got a lot better during this lesson! Then we took a walk break and Jane helped me re-arrange my body again before we went into canter. 

It really is getting to be fall!
This tree is outside my work and it's so pretty
Katai did really well going to the right (my tough side) and we discovered that I’m turning my right toe out and squeezing with the back of my calf rather than the inside. We think it’s a flexibility thing and I also think it’s a strength thing. I’m going to work on that. When we switched to go in the other direction Katai just refused. No, this is hard work I don’t want to don’t make me I’m done I want my dinner please thank you. So, I picked up a dressage whip for the first time in a long time just to help reinforce my forward leg aid since pony was being very ponyish and just stopping and digging her heels in. She wasn’t happy about it but when I asked gently with the whip she did go forward and we got some great canter in that direction.

After a little trot break we went back to canter again. Just like T, we’re at a place where we just need to canter so we’re really working on doing it a lot, for short sections of the ride. Once I had the dressage whip I only needed to use it a couple more times and then Katai got the memo and started to just listen to my leg.

Being a dressage pony is hard work!

Just like last week I decided to lunge on Wednesday since it’s a good way to give her a lighter day but still get her moving so she doesn’t get too stiff. Jane came and watched for a bit again and really likes this as part of my riding schedule so Wednesday Lunging Day is officially a thing now. Katai was quite stiff to start off, she had gotten a good workout the day before, and was a little crabby. I let her take her time moving slowly and gradually as she softened up we went back to the canter on the lunge, in side reins.

She started off a bit sluggish but really started to get it and maintain her own, slow momentum after a bit. After a trot break and some walk we switched to the other side and did a bit more. I stopped before she got too tired and when we went over to talk with Jane, Jane mentioned that Katai’s eyes were so much softer and she was quiet and relaxed. She’s really appreciating our new routine and I’m learning how to help with that relaxation which is amazing! I plan to ride tonight, Saturday, and Sunday and can’t wait to see my amazing mare 


  1. the relaxation is so critical! I'm enjoying reading your updates.

  2. Way to tease us with exciting personal life stuff! :P I agree with Teresa, relaxation is key :)

  3. SO interesting how you saw her do that little twitch/release after getting her to use her topline more correctly and stretch down!