Friday, March 18, 2011

You know when ...

... you have a fight with someone you love? You may fight like cats and dogs for a little bit, but eventually you make up and it's all better. That's how it was today. I had high expectations today, I admit it. No matter that I was unable to ride Wed or Thurs. Threw on the dressage tack, headed up to the (rock hard) ring, picked up my contact and went to *march* forward.

Jig. Janet yelled in my head, "LEG! DON'T drop the contact! MORE LEG!!! HAND!!" Soooo ... I kept the contact, legged HARD with spurs, and what happened? He decided to try a levade. What did I do? Smacked the snot out of him between the ears. Back to contact. Leg. Jig. Rinse and repeat.

We fought for about 10 minutes straight. He was PISSED. It was coolish this morning; after 15 minutes, he was foamy. Picked up the trot and it was a million miles an hour. Imitated the "real" dressage riders I'd watched yesterday auditing a Gigi Nutter clinic, and kicked my legs. Me being a (former) hunter princess, I keep my leg quite still. From what I can gather, "real" dressage riders do NOT. Forced a slow(er) post, working against his rhythm, kicked hard, maintained contact, and FINALLY found an OK trot.

I re-evaluated my attitude. I got frustrated, I admit. At home, he does his little thing, I do my usual no contact thing, and I expect us to be as good as when I'm in a lesson. Isn't that the definition of insanity? So, I channeled my inner Janet/Lauren and just cooled down. Maintained that "heavier" contact with the reins, quieted my leg, but definitely USED it, tucked my butt under, sat back, relaxed my arms, breathed, and lo and behold ... the trot we'd achieved on Tuesday.:)

Random observation; the trot feels heavier to me when he's correct. I have more contact than I usually ride him with, I have to KEEP my leg on and NOT let the pace drop off, but I feel like I have much more horse in my hand than we just "go along". When it came time to canter, though, I had SUCH a light horse. The transition was stellar since he was in a correct trot, so our canter transition was very organized and clean. Once at the canter, he was so light and uphill; BOTH directions! Gave him a break, did some circles, leg yields, and shoulder in, then decided to try the whole walk thing again.

Loose rein walk=amazing.

Tiny contact=walk

Leg, little more contact=walk

More leg, more contact=hollow back, tense neck

MORE leg=little better than above

Correct contact, short reins, long arms, WRAPPED legs=jig Jen did NOT over-react. Began walking small figure 8 across the short side. Tiki eventually gives in and walks on contact. Not happily, but correctly. Baby steps, baby steps. Probably doing dressage all week long until next Saturday. What's happening then? HUNTER PACE, baby!!!!!!!!:):)


  1. Is it possible that his hock injections are wearing off? How long do the effects last? They say that when a horse is behaving out of normal, perhaps there's a reason other than attitude, like pain.

  2. Thanks for your comment. And nah. He's a turd sometimes. We have had the "shorten reins and immediately jig off" problem since day one. His biggest problem is me, honestly. At home, I get "ok" gaits. They're fine; not spectacular, but not bad either. My boss/trainer for the moment is trying to move us up into the "good" gait range. He is perfectly capable! But at home, he has his little routine, and I allow it to happen. When I attempted to do something about it, he threw a little hissy fit. The "fighting" is totally unproductive, but fortunately one of my "good" traits is that I can let go of any issues, and work with the horse I have. When I did, he was SO much better. He also is a puss when the ring isn't soft and fluffy, which is a problem because 1. The ring is rarely soft and fluffy, and 2. He's an eventer now which means he has to work in grass half the time;)

  3. Jigging is such an annoying habit to fix. Good luck.