Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gloom, despair and agony on me

I hope you watched Hee Haw. Oh, come on, who besides me ever watched Hee Haw and does dressage? They are sort of antithetical aren't they? But I'm a cowgirl so I can get away with it. Besides, it was at my grandparents' house.

I rode this morning. It was not pretty. I mean, it started out fine and if a show weren't coming up I'd have been fine with it too but I kinda need canter at this point and I wasn't having this much trouble with it last time for heavens sakes. Last time I figured out that I could bend her, set her up fast, ask fast and pretty much get it every time. This time I can't. Yet. Figure. It. Out.

And she bucked. I mean kicked pretty high one time. But she got the correct lead. Because what happened that time was that she was beginning to pick up the correct lead and was hesitating and going about her thing that changes it into the wrong one and I had the whip and used it (not harshly) and by gawd she cantered but she kicked like hell. I just kept her going. She even kicked on the right lead once, when we were a bit wide and about to canter right into a letter (the chains defining the arena are not up yet) and I asked her with that outside leg to move over (she wanted to trot and go around instead) and, again, she did it but registered her objection.

I have two opposing things going on here. I hear Kay Meredith saying, "Make the work easier than the resistance," and I do think a good part of this is just about resistance. But it isn't all about that. So the other part is about being very gentle and refining my asking and her understanding. My gut says this is not a one or the other thing but that I have to do both. It isn't about punishment but about work, so if we kick into canter, we still canter and don't get sidetracked by the kick.

I do feel very sidetracked by the canter at the moment though. I'm like, oh shit, should I scratch this whole thing? How bad could it be? Do you reckon we can counter-canter, cross-canter, and canter on the correct lead (I didn't say correctly canter!) all within half of one long side and one twenty meter circle? I have never even asked her for a canter on a long side and if I miss the first one, that's where it will be! Ach!


I'm thinking about shortening the stirrups and doing it from a dressage forward seat position! I mean, really, if I could get her correct from that . . . it would be worth a low score for effectiveness (how ironic would that be?). That's about the first thing I've thought to try that seems possible. Hmmm. That would be so unorthodox . . .

And what I forgot to write the first time was that we'd work on the canter thing and then we'd walk, you know. Then we'd try again. With me trying to hear what it is that is wrong. And finally I said, you know, girl, just one good transition. And she gave me the most relaxed canter transition left ever. Not a beautiful canter but a great up transition. So we did a stretchy trot (sort of) and quit.

Now I'm like saying to her, honey, we need one good test day of show. And I could use decent rides this week building up to it too. Please. Although if I fall on my face, well, that's what I do. Sometimes that's the way of things. I'll probably cry. It is the week of crying in the cycle.

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