DLB Progress Thread ~ Dressage

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by DocsLglyBlonde, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Docs Legally Blonde, aka Jessie, aka Miss Mare is going to have a big year in 2017, as am I :LOL: Forewarning, I like to write and this will likely end up a novel, but I thought it would be nice to have our progress in one spot :)

    Truth time. I have had Miss Mare since she was 5 years old, and she turns 17 in May. I was only 11 when I got her, and have spent the last few years practically starting over with her due to the "training" I instilled back then. We currently go out on trails and dabble around in a dressage arena :rolleyes: She has a solid walk, trot, leg yield (struggles more moving left, slight bend right), start of shoulder in, yields on the forehand and hindquarters very well, solid w/t to halt and halt to w/t transitions, has a killer rein back, is usually light in the bridle, moves forward with nice energy, has been using her hind end well and reaching under herself, and is overall very responsive to light aids. She is very thick through the throatlatch, and has a hard time flexing at the poll. Her "go to" evasion is giraffe-ing, so I'm never working on getting her more in front of the bit, but rather round and reaching vs inverted.

    Her canter needs work. She has always had a huge canter, but she has previously been unblanced and lost confidence due to my riding errors. I worked this year on doing no u/s canter work, but strengthening her walk and trot and lunging for about 15 min once or twice a week to work on canter transitions and getting her more confident. She is very smart and wants to do things right, which requires me to accept tiny correct movements, step back and reward, then build up from there. Once she knows what you are asking of her, she learns extremely quickly. Friday, we went out on trails, and I barely asked for a canter, wondering if she'd offer it up. She moved into a beautiful, relaxed, well controlled canter. That was huge for us.

    She foundered July 2014 and was diagnosed as IR. She rotated 2 degrees in her RF hoof, and was already anatomically asymmetrical, but got more atrophy on her right side after foundering. She has a harder time bending to the right, but she has improved greatly. New things are always more difficult for her going right though.

    I know I need help. Lol I think my seat is decent, my hands are light and independent, but I tend to draw my leg up. My lower body needs to be more independent from my upper body, and I need to work on keeping my hip angles open. I'm sure there's more!

    I bought a trailer about 4 years ago now, but it needed a lot of work, and only this year I got it road ready. I'm proud to say that I did probably 90% of the repairs and renovation myself, with electrical help from my dad, and welding help from a fantastic local welder. So, only this year have I been able to haul out to trails, and look for places that allow truck ins for dressage lessons. I feel confident that I have a good basic knowledge, and I've gotten a little guidance from friends who have had success at the lower levels, but there is only so much you can learn yourself, plus teach your own horse, while not getting instruction from eyes on the ground.

    I just secured a spot with a local dressage instructor who owns a gorgeous facility and has a relatively limited clientele (I think there's only 10-15 horses on the property). I'm set to start lessons regularly on Saturdays, once per week, starting the second week of January. We're also arranging a lesson before then on a different day, tbd, based on her openings and my schedule.

    My goals for us are to learn together, progress together, and become a better team together. We can essentially read each others minds at this point, to the point where I'll think of doing something, and before I intend to ask, she starts doing it. Clearly my aids are not punctual, and she reminds me of that. I would be thrilled to be able to go solid first level. I don't honestly care about showing, though I think it would be fun to gauge how we're doing. I would love to do a clinic here and there. The facility I'll be lessoning at is all dressage folks and hosts clinics with great people regularly.

    I'm a tack addict, and like fashion, so I hope no one at the farm minds something other than black and white :ROFLMAO: I also hope I don't get judged for my "horse of a different color" in a world of bays, chestnuts, and grays :rofl:

    Pics to come...
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  2. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    Subbing. This is very exciting! I'm doing the same as far as improving myself as a priority and also my horses. Looking forward to following your progress.
     
  3. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Thanks @BluemoonOKy I hope we deliver :rofl:

    I forgot to mention, I am a doctor of physical therapy student, so I'm currently on winter break, but I will get busier at the end of January. I will do my best to keep doing at least weekly updates on what we learn from our lessons!
     

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  4. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Here's another photo... One of my favorites :) lol I can't wait until I have a real update :rolleyes:
     

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  5. SparkleDust

    SparkleDust Senior Member

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    Cute! I am excited for this thread!
     
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  6. SkyeTiger

    SkyeTiger Senior Member

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    Good luck! I would LOVE to start doing the same thing with my mare and the horses I lease. I can't wait to see updates. :)
     
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  7. Winchester

    Winchester Senior Member

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    How exciting! Love your writing style, looking forward to many updates. I recently decided to focus on improving (basically learning completely lol) our dressage so I can commiserate :)
     
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  8. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Thanks all!

    Thank you! I've definitely read through your threads, and love all you and your mare are doing - you're learning but having lots of fun while doing it! I hope that's how our adventures go...:rolleyes:
     
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  9. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    We have our first lesson Wednesday!! I'm super excited, but also very nervous. Lol I haven't been to a lesson in forever!

    What's everyone's advice on riding in an indoor? I haven't ridden in an indoor, in the winter at least, for probably 10 years. Hopefully Jessie aclimates quickly :confused: If it's unheated, do you dress as if it were 10 degrees warmer or so? It's suppose to be in the 40's Wednesday, so it should be easy to dress for that, but I don't know what to wear for later lessons when it's like 20 or below outside. I just bought myself some cute new tops and vests to wear, but they won't be here for Wednesday.

    I'm just hoping she's not a nut in a new place with relatively lots of horses and everything. She hasn't been in that situation in a while, and she's historically been quite reactive, but has surprised me recently with her coolness. My lesson is at 11:30, and I can go in the arena at 11:15, but I plan to get there probably at 10:30-10:45 to tack up and walk around a bit. Is there a time that would be too early? Can you tell I'm a little anxious?!?! :rofl:
     
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  10. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Dress the same as you would if you were riding outside. Many times indoors hold the cold from over night until the later afternoon. You can always remove, but you can't add.

    At those temps, I'd have a cooler on hand and if you end up tacking up outside or taking off a winter blanket, you'll have something to cover up so one doesn't get cold. Then you can use the same thing after you've ridden as a cooler.

    I would make a point to be in that ring at 11:15am. So arrive with enough time that you can calmly tack up without being rushed. Take your time and clear your head before you mount up. You're horse will thank you & you'll have a better ride/lesson if you're "in the moment" and not worrying about what she might do. What will be will be, but set yourself up to win mentally.

    If you can, bring a camera and set it up on a standard or mounting block and take your lesson. Then be sure to watch it that same day afterwards & make a few notes (mentally or literally).

    Have fun, i'm sure you'll do just fine!
     

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