Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ready for lesson #2

Well fortunately the weather held up for a weeks worth of hard work right after our first lesson. Romeo is a quick learner... much quicker then I am!!! Rhythm is coming along well for both of us and Romeo is starting search for contact. It's so much fun to see just how much we have improved in the last 6 months. I am hoping that we can get another lesson real soon, although the next week looks like a nasty, no-riding, week:-/ Also roomie and I have some major spring projects planned that we have to get started on soon which will take away from our riding time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Romeo's first lesson

Thursday evening roomie and I loaded up Romeo, Ria, and Jo and drove south for 2 hours. Roomie is good friends with trainer M so we stay at her house that night. Friday morning we all got up and fed the farm and had a leisurely morning talking about horses of course, lol.

Mid-morning roomie saddled up miss priss for the first lesson of the day. We had the video camera, but only 30 min of tape... for 3 lessons:-/ So we had to be very selective with taping the lessons. I taped the first part of the lesson and the last part. M is great at stopping and waiting for the camera to start rolling before launching into an explanation of an exercise. Since we really had no time frame the lessons went on till horse and rider were both tired... M is A-Mazing!!!! Roomie and Ria had a fantastic lesson, roomie was told that Ria is no longer a green horse (i've been telling her that) and she needs to stop riding her like one. Time to step up and have more expectations from her.

Next up were Romeo and I..... my first "official" lesson in a looooong time and Romeo's first ever lesson:-o I was a little nervous. I had no idea what to expect from him. He really is a calm traveler, and I can def tell he is starting to grow up a bit. At times he even acts like a steady QH and not like some crazy Thoroughbred (which he is not!) But he is 90% of the time hot under saddle. I got him saddled and let M know i was going to go lunge him for a bit before the lesson. Roomie and M made there way out to the arena shortly after and M took over.

I have only had a few lunging lessons and so I have never been extremely confident with it, so I was grateful for the advice. I too was told to treat my horse different;y. I've been treating him more like a baby but since he is almost 7 I need to realize that he is ready for hard work. M gave me some great exercises to turn this into a pivotal part of our training. 30 minutes later he was hot and sweaty and ready for riding... have I mentioned that it is was January and 60 degrees out?? Today is the first of February and freezing!! Arkansas has crazy weather!!

So I got on and it's amazing what that 30 min of lunging did... it was like riding a different horse. He was focused and ready to work. We didn't work on much, but the little things that we did work on have helped us tremendously. She gave me some great tips on encouraging correct flexion and listening to the leg aids. She worked on my position which with the inconsistent riding I had slipped into some old habits. Although some bad habits came back some are, hopefully, gone for good. She said I had great hands... wait, what??? Me, good hands??? Roomie and I had to pause and laugh, after all that is what a previous trainer said was horrible and "un-fixable".... I like to prove people wrong, lol!! She also said I had a great seat with good follow. Our walk work was really good.

The latter part of the lesson we did some trot work, now hands aren't quite as good as they are at the walk but they are getting there. Still have trouble consistently posting through the hands and out the knee. We worked on rhythm and more rhythm and more rhythm. Lol, the first layer of the dressage foundation. Towards the end M said, "quiet your brain!" That was it... it clicked and we slowed down, finally settling into a decent rhythm. Roomie said the trot at the end of the lesson was amazing and I got lots of great comments from M on his wonderful movement. Who says QH can't have great movement??? (lol I did before meeting Romeo)

2 hours later and both horse and rider dripping in sweat we headed back to the barn. Then we went to lunch and back for the last lesson. Roomie and Jo had an alright lesson. Jo acted up for most of it so she was pretty frustrated with him. M worked on her position a whole lot in both lessons so she still got a lot out of it.

The good news is that the last 4 days have been perfect riding weather so lesson on Friday followed by rides Sat, Sun and Mon. Romeo and I are doing fantastic!!!! Although I think we will need another lesson soon. He learns so quickly and I know so little about what to do next. With the new lunging exercises we usually end up working for at least an hour and a half. It feels great to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. I think we will def be ready for a show come June. Maybe even a training level test at the end of the season:-)

Bad news is winter is back.... it has poured all day and the temperature is currently dropping fast:-/ Looks like no riding for the rest of the week.