Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Different Kind of Lesson

I know its been a while.  Due to shows, weather, pregnancies (mine and my trainers), lessons have been few and far between.  By now I know while I can still ride - a little, I know I can't handle a full lesson (I'm 6 months pregnant).  But I don't want to put Dexter in training, I have a thing about doing all the work, and I don't want to lease him out so I can't see him, and I don't want him to sit around and regress until I can ride again.

So what do we do.... enter lunging classes.  Yes, I know how to lunge a horse, what I wanted to do with my trainer was to see what tools and techniques to use to keep him in the frame we have been working on.  Originally I was hoping for long line classes, as I don't know how to do that.  But she hesitated thinking it may be too much and if Dexter freaked out I could get dragged around.  And being he has the habit of bucking and being an idiot every time I ask for a canter on the lunge line, I agree.

Despite my disappointment of not getting to work on the long lining, it ended up being a pretty productive lesson.  I learned how to use the side reins to keep a consistent feel on the outside, when I lunge him with nothing on he pops out his shoulder, counter bends and avoids any particular frame possible.  I leaned how to half halt using the whip and line and in general how to use the whip and line as my inside aides.

But I think the most value I got out of it was finally getting to see what he's supposed to look like.  When Trainer would say he looks great, instead of just agreeing I'd say " I think he looks good too but what specifically are you looking at??"  And she's point out the muscles on his back and sides contracting and his feet tracking up.  i thought about all the times I rode at home thinking he was going great just to get to the lesson and find out he wasn't.  I wasn't asking enough questions to get down to the specifics of what we were looking for.  Trainer would tell us when we did well, but I would focus on what his head looked like instead of his butt or something like that.  Since we would be working from the ground for a while I wanted to make sure I knew what I was looking for. 

I think we will have some good things to work on for a while on the ground.  Dexter is getting to learn how to carry himself and I'm getting to see what a good frame should look like.  Hopefully this will help us both in the end.

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