The dressage journal of someone who has never competed before

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Binca, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

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    I think the over long title sums it up!

    At the age of 11 (I think) I began lessons with a local well known and highly qualified dressage coach. But at that stage obviously the lessons weren't really dressage lessons, she was just teaching me to ride. I got the pleasure over the years to ride some lovely horses from an OTTB she eventually gave away because he sometimes chucked a tiny buck in so wasn't lesson suitable (she actually offered him to me, but I had just bought Ciarra), a variety of cheeky ponies, some lovely quarter horses, and even her gorgeous WB who was once on the state dressage squad.

    Eventually I got my own horses and had lessons on them too, which taught me a lot.

    Below is a photo of a photo of me around the age of 12, riding one of the school horses. Sadly not long after this he was PTS after a paddock accident.

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    A few years ago I moved my horses to a different area. The instructor I had ridden with for years doesn't travel anywhere that isn't very local, and I couldn't afford regular lessons anyway. I was focused more on my uni studies and couldn't save a lot of money. I was happy just trail riding and letting Ciarra be a horse in a paddock while she was younger.

    My biggest challenge with riding has always been that I don't have the best back. It isn't terrible either, I'm not after sympathy. My recent xrays showed I have reverse lordosis in my neck, scoliosis somewhere a bit further down, then below that a slight hunchback. All of these things are incredibly mild. But it's enough that I seem to have trouble feeling what I am doing sometimes, and my left hip tends to sit further back. Regular stretching and chiro is helping. But this has created a fault which has been made worse over my years of no lessons. I lean a bit too far back. I can't feel it. I feel like I am upright.

    I am now in a position where I have the money for lessons again, so my friend put me onto a dressage instructor who is also a biomechanics expert - and she will travel. I had my first lesson with her yesterday which I will share in my next post. My lessons for now will be fortnightly, but I will aim for weekly when I can. I'm still a poor uni student for another 6 months!

    My plan is to keep this journal updated so that I can see my progress, and anyone else interested can see/comment too.

    My goal for now is to improve my position. I am taking lessons on my lovely old man Josh for now. Then my aim is to start getting lessons on Ciarra, because I would love to get her out competing one day.
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Gorgeous photo and colorful pony.:)

    As long as your instructor knows and works with you, it's going to be great. A decent pt also would help as you go along. Just have fun and do your best and enjoy yourself. I had a problem with a hip joint so I would get uber frustrated, but I didn't know it was a congenital problem. I had poor human conformation.;)

    I'm happy you're getting back in the thick of it. :)
     
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  3. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

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    Lesson 22nd Feb 2017

    So my first lesson! My friend who put me onto this instructor came along. She is a professional photographer and decided last minute to bring her camera. I am glad she did because I can see the progress I made in one lesson - and how far back I was leaning before. I have also decided to not wear that style of shirt in a lesson again - I didn't realise how poofy it was at the back!

    Here is a photo which was taken just after I hopped on. So I was just plodding around on a loose rein and talking to the instructor. Hence the lazy horse as well, I wasn't pushing him in this photo. Excuse the face. I seem to always be pulling weird faces when the camera snaps, so expect a lot more like it! But here you can really see the leaning back. I think it is a bit worse in this photo than some, but this photo clearly highlights it so I wanted to share it because to improve I need to know what I was doing that needed improving!

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    The instructor spent a while talking to me about my position and she shortened my stirrups. I knew they were too long but I found it comfy. But now that my position is being worked on, the shorter stirrups weren't so bad.

    Here is a photo when she was getting me to sit on my hand and feel what my body is doing.
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    Josh enjoyed this standing around working on my position bit of the lesson!
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    Lucy, the instructor, wasn't fussed about the reins for this lesson, she wanted me to focus on my body. So I spent most of the lesson on a loose rein.

    Here I am just trying to trot for the first time in my new position. I found it super awkward at first but once I got the hang of it, it was a lot better and Josh started to go very nicely. It is a really deep arena in places so he had to work quite hard.
    [​IMG]

    Starting to get the hang of it. This is half smile half weird concentration face I think!
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    I think here is when I was making a joke about the loose reins - and then accidentally dropped them. Oops! But look how relaxed Josh is! I could really feel the difference in him as I worked on my position. I really need these lessons! I understand a lot in theory, but practice is an entirely different matter.

    [​IMG]

    Closer to the end of the lesson.
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    Look, I can smile under saddle!

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    And as I un tacked Josh he started to doze with his chin on the rail. Poor old man!
    [​IMG]

    I spent the next 10 minutes walking with my back and shoulders in the same position I finished the lesson in! So probably more upright than when I normally walk. It honestly felt like I was leaning forwards, but apparently I was upright. I have a lot of work to do here!
     
  4. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    Gorgeous pics, I really like the first one, you didn't look to far back to me....but heck I'm not an instructor. I guess it comes from the fact that is what I hear most, "sit back" especially now we are asking more of Fergie, I have to sit back and deep to make sure I am working her.....

    You look very tall and elegant up there, this is going to be an interesting journey
     
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  5. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    YAY! Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing with us. I hope to see more updates from ya'll. Looking good.
     
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  6. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    I have booked another lesson for next week. I can't wait! I'll be trying to ride as much as I can before then too, just working on what we did in the lesson.
     
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  7. Winchester

    Winchester Senior Member

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    Another rider with scoliosis issues here! Looking forward to this thread, maybe I can glean some tips from you ;) Think your instructor would travel to Canada?!
     
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  8. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    Your position looks lovely to me! Lol Makes me jealous! :) Looking forward to following your progress!
     
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  9. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

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    Thanks guys! I'm wondering how my back will look in a less puffy shirt that shows it properly! :p

    Haha, good luck getting her to travel that far! :p she goes back to England a lot, not sure Canada is on the agenda. I'll definitely let you know if that changes though!
     
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  10. magic_rider

    magic_rider Senior Member

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    I love that second last riding photo! I can't wait to see your progress, I started lessons a couple of years ago after having ridden for most of my life with very little instruction. I'm competing in official dressage now and having regular lessons with a fantastic instructor and couldn't be happier.
     
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