Friday, August 20, 2010

The old girl looks pretty good, and Rolinette doesn’t look bad either

It rained, blessed rain. But then again, it’s race week so it has to rain. It rained a lot, to where the arena was essentially floating. Lessons were moved to McPherson’s Quarter Horse Arena. Rolinette hadn’t been off property for years (except for Friesian inspections) but was perfectly fine of course.

I just had two lessons with Lisa this week, and now a lesson with Andre. I would love to do this more often, or probably more like one lesson a week anyway. I would love to commit to something like 12 weekly lessons with Lisa Moose focusing on position using a lot of lunge work. Oh well. I’m glad for these lessons as I’ve had weeks, maybe months, without a lesson at all. Which had been fine too. I feel like we’d made lots of progress on our own, Rolinette and I, but we need help too.

So, lesson with Andre. I’m never sure if I should talk more in a lesson, or less. Is what I understand important, or should I just do what I’m told and understand later? So when we start in walk and do shoulder fore, I tell him my experience with her increasing lateralness. And he helps me in that he says that yes, sometimes she cheats by bending but just moving her hindquarters over too. But she also does it correctly too. So we of course work toward more correctness. She does rather consistently lose forward when she gets it right, probably because it is still difficult for her.

We worked on halt. He said twenty halts a session was minimal or you weren’t working on halt at all. From both walk and trot through walk. My key in that transition is to allow because it is in the softening, in the allowance, that she squares up.

He watched her trot a bit and didn’t say a whole lot. He did remark that the rhythm was good. Then we worked primarily on the stretchy trot and I learned so much from him here. Stretchy trot I don’t remember ever learning in my before life, so it is new. And I’ve never felt fully instructed in it in this life, though I have asked. I read some helpful info in a book or two and mostly trial and errored it. I understood that it is easier if there is a good connection prior to asking for the stretch, but what about in the stretch, when she stretches then stops stretching and I’ve only got a 20M circle to get it? Andre’s instructions were basically to keep the connection on the outside rein steady (which amounts to adjusting it pretty constantly for her continually inconsistent stretch right now) and asking for bend (and round) with the inside rein, and then just keeping the leg there, not asking for too much but not abandoning her with the legs either, remind her to keep trucking. So, for this show I’ve got a week, three to five rides, to improve that. Wonder how far it can come?

At canter we ironically had issues with right canter more than left, exactly opposite of usual. And kicking out again, big time. His advice was to use the outside leg to cue but only by sliding it back, not by using it per se, and to use (squeeze) with the inside leg, and to maintain that outside leg back position, without squeeze, for the entire canter, and if she needs help keeping it, to use the inside leg for that. Our downward transitions during the lesson were not good and we definitely need to get there to work on those. The good news on this for the show is that she’s strong enough now to warm up several canter transitions, so hopefully she won’t be too excited by it, or resistant, or anything but round and willing.

I admire how Andre can give you actual insights into how to be a more effective and make you feel good about it at the same time.

He also said to me, several times and in several different contexts, "Ninety-five percent of the time when there is an evasion, the first part of solving that is more forward." If you've been paying attention, if you remember my last lesson with him, you might understand why this tickled me! I totally agree with him. This time.

No comments: