I couldn’t believe today’s lesson at all! It feels more real like I’m working toward doing some kind of dressage movements with things I was learning today.
We started and Bella was being so difficult. She got a few sharp kicks from me after i’d asked several times nicely. My RI sent for a crop and handed it to me. It was an adjustment for my hands as although used to carrying one on hacks, it’s somewhat different in the school.
The subtlety needed for your reins is crucial in the school and as my RI pointed out, we ten to hold the right rein tighter when a crop is in our hand initially. I did that for sure.
Anyway, the crop sparked Bella up. She trotted eventually, only when I moved and threatened to use it.
When I moved it again after a full trot of the school, she positively bunny hopped again. This mare is really testing my staying on skills. I really thought I would go this time but nope, balance saved me again.
The crop got chucked and Bella was surprisingly compliant for the most part after this.
Then, my RI decided to throw in something new. Walk up the E side of the school and then learn to turn down the centre line. She asked me if I knew where a dressage test started? I answered yes, at A, down the centre line.
So we got up to H and got to C, or just before as it is really and sharply turned right. This is obviously a new and strange concept in the school as most turns, even the change of rein are so subtle and gradual.
Bella started to drift a little after we got past X. I was also asked where was X in the school and what was its significance? I responded, it was usually the point of the final halt and where the dressage test ended and the centre of the school.
We got to A and turned right and tried it again but this time I had to trot Bella down the centre line.
She’d stop about four strides off of A and keep wanting to drift left so I had to perfect not allowing her to do this.
We got there after a few goes and the trot got closer to A. My RI said I needed to let Bella know I was planning on going right so twist my hips to the right a little to give the indication that that was the eventual destination but not to turn yet. Then it was a hard left leg on to turn her right and turn with the shoulders and hips.
Then it was time to try it the other way.
So we walked up E side and then turned at C,, trotted down the centre line, then turned left. This was harder to do as Bella had expected us to go right.
It was a great challenge and I feel we’re moving forward at last. Now Bella is testing me more to. My RI spoke to me after the lesson as she often does and pointed out, now I’m upping my game, so is Bella. No longer is she the nice, steady, dependable mare, she’s now saying, I’m not sure I want to give you all control and I’m going to show you my displeasure. I pointed out this was a great learning curve for me.
I’ve never been spooked really when a horse is. a lot of the time because there are people who can see why they’ve spooked and told me. I have sat on a TB’s back while he charged around and ran us into some trees because, well, what was the other option? I’ve had both Bella and Shadow do a dead stop because of lose dogs and I’ve just been like, well, it happened. I’m probably an idiot for not being afraid but it happens I guess. My RI agreed but did say she doesn’t like her blood pressure going up either so the less it happens the better.
We also had a very good conversation about Bella and why she wanted me to learn on her as opposed to other horses like Shadow or Topaz. It wasn’t because she didn’t think I could handle them, it was because they’d be easier on me in the school. She didn’t want me to go on an easier horse and be lolled into a false sense of security, she wanted me to learn on Bella who would cut corners, who would drift, who would demand I was rider perfect on her back to ensure I could handle any horse that caused me those issues.
I always thought I was put on Bella purely because she wouldn’t panic and fly into a fit and I wouldn’t be able to handle it in her opinion but I’m seeing more now that she did it so I’d come out of this knowing how to ride a harder horse.
I’m sure there are horses harder to ride than Bella but when it comes to our bigger horses, she’s probably a fairly good challenge. I kind of felt good about that in a way. Instead of putting me on a nice little horse who would do anything I asked it to without much thought, she put me on a horse that would be particular on her aids, harder to keep in line and on track, and sometimes pure stubborn. I hope that means she has some faith in me. 🙂
I can tell Bella’s improving with me. Our hacks together and our school lessons are presenting more and more challenges and challenges I wasn’t sure Bela would ever present. The spook in last week’s lesson for example was something I couldn’t ever imagine her doing in the school. But she’s a horse at the end of the day. 🙂
Anyway, weather permitting, I.E., it doesn’t snow too badly or the roads are icy, I’ll be doing another hour this weekend. If not, two thirty minutes as it’d be safer having someone on the ground if ice was around. We’ll see.
Thanks for reading,