I had a self-made dressage camp this weekend! I went to audit a Steffen Peters’ clinic and when I saw that JJ Tate was riding in the clinic (she is based at Riveredge West), I sent her a text asking if I could get lessons on one of her horses and bring Bali with me. She said she could teach me on Chip, but wouldn’t have time with the clinic and other riding to teach me on Bali, but her assistant Ashley could teach me lessons on Bali. So, I took the day off Friday, loaded up Bali and headed out.
I really do not like hauling around the DC beltway, even in ‘light’ traffic it is a high stress drive with a four horse trailer. But, it was a good drive and we arrived with no flat tires!!!
Lesson with Ashley
I let Bali relax for a couple of hours and then had a lesson with Ashley. I was able to get most of my warm up done while she was untacking her horse, and then we had an introduction to what I am doing with Bali, what I would like to work on, etc.
Ashley immediately had me become quieter with my leg. No more nagging, I need to make this a new habit. Bali has sucked me into working at least hard as she does, and this is not the first time I have been told this, so it is time to make the change for good.
Next we did our left lead canter warm up, then walked and went right. I worked on spiraling in at the trot and out, and couldn’t get her to lead with her haunches at the trot, so it was back to walk to start. There she had me really focus on bending through her rib cage, ignoring her head and neck for a while. Bali would overbend dropping contact and I had to keep the contact, by bringing my elbow back a bit, not letting her escape. Then ask her to leg yield her haunches over. I was learning to feel that hind under my seat, then transition to trot, keeping both reins even in the contact. When she hollows from the bit I need to use my grab strap on the inside, to stabilize that, and let the outside follow a bit more.
We did tons of transitions and I learned to feel the desired result. Then we did some canter and did more of that same exercise, adding in squaring the corners of my circle at the canter to feel the inside hind. I need to think of my releases in millimeters, not centimeters.
Lots of ‘feel’ today, which is very hard to express.
I then watched Ashley ride another horse and got to chat with Richard, JJ’s husband. He knows Neuf! We talked about the proper amount of work for young horses and how knowing when to be done for the day is one of the most important things. He likes Vienna reins more than side reins and at some point this weekend may find some to show me how he likes them adjusted.
I ride Chip at 8:00 am tomorrow and need to get Bali set for the morning before that, so am closing for the night.