Finally the day came to ride under Andre's instruction. In some ways it has been a long time coming -- I think Andre has wondered if I really ride at all! In others, I think it is a miracle that it can happen at all.
Andre is very different. My previous teachers were students primarily of Germans, or those of the German school. Andre is of the French school. German is strength; French is finesse, to oversimplify a lot.
Also, what he told me was in some ways very different than what I was doing. What is funny about that is that it doesn't make me feel like I've been wrong but like there is more than one way to skin a cat as it were. I suppose that goes back to horses being the one thing that I'm not apologetic about.
His emphasis was on rhythm. Not so much forward. He said big horses feel slow. So at times today Rol felt plodding. He says, rhythm first, then bend, and in that bend (and with fitness), we ask her to step more under herself with her hind end.
And that was sort of it. He corrected my inside leg position saying it was just a smidge (like half an inch) further back than it should be -- that little bit more forward gives her the post around which to bend. He said it was an unusual fault. He didn't once tell me to sit back and when I remarked on that at the end of the lesson, he said, no, your position is pretty good, and besides, where she is right now, you have to be forward a tiny bit.
In the finesse, he did say to sit back consciously when asking for upward transitions and to not sit back when asking for downward transitions.
We did a lot of riding the corners, deeper into the corners, and asking her to bend, and consciously and consistently riding through the corners. Oh, that is so much something I remember from my old MM days, those corners were so important! I have probably been slopping through them, and I've known I haven't been neat in them on Rol but I've focused on other things. So ride the corners.
We did some shoulder fore. He didn't use it with me as I've seen him do with others as almost an idea of shoulder fore (almost a way to be straight) but with me he did it more an only a slightly less intense shoulder-in. Rol is not very lateral (understatement). Lateral work asks her to step under herself.
Also, don't lean. I didn't even realize I was doing that and that is so bad!
After the lesson, when I was off somewhere else walking Rol out (she was quite hot and huffing a bit although I'd been so transported with concentration I hardly felt like we'd worked at all -- I was so concentrated that I literally felt like I was in a different world, a world that was just horses, just riding, just being perfect and in perfect partnership), Andre said to Lisa (reported later by Lisa); "She's a good partner for Rolinette; she's not too busy." You know what? I'm good with that! I know how to be quiet on a horse. I like that a lot.
Of course, I got off wanting to do it again tomorrow, wanting to do it again everyday for a week, wanting to do it every day period.