Recap of Lesson

I should’ve written this right away, while it was all fresh… but here goes.

Joy’s first time in an arena with mirrors! It didn’t occur to me that this would be an issue. I’ve never had a horse react very much to mirrors.

It took a good 15 minutes of airs above the grounds before she settled enough to listen to me again. Didn’t stop the constant nickering to her reflection, but at least her feet were closer to the ground.

I wish I’d gotten some pics of it. She was quite the sight. Prancing and preening to herself in the mirror.

I put her back in her stall while we waited for our lesson and she screamed her fool head off. I assure you, this pony has a good set of lungs on her.

Oh.. i bought some splint/dressage boots, all white with the fluffy fake wool, for the lesson. I figured if we couldn’t awe them with our riding skills, then we could dazzle them with fashy stuff, right?

For some reason, it was really important for me to convince them she was a nice dressage pony. I guess because I’ve invested so much effort into her training, and have done it all myself… it wasn’t really about the pony.

Anyway, they looked sharp on her.

We start the lesson, and of course new trainer is feeling us out and I’m not riding all that sophisticated.. but she’s offering good suggestions and I’m seeing where I need to improve.

All good stuff.

Then she gets on the pony (I asked her too).

My God! She made Joy look like a million bucks! Like those fancy horses you see that are light years out of your budget. Just beautiful. Fluid, and soft, and powerful.

Trainer on Joy

Look at that hind leg!

She even got Joy to do a really nice lengthen on the first try. A lengthen I have never come anywhere near creating. It was so awesome!!!

What was really nice to hear:

She said Joy had a great walk and trot. Great shoulder in. Great lateral work. Was one of the few ponies she’s ridden that you could ride with your core. That she thought Joy would do Piaffe easily (once there). And that if I decide to sell her, to let her know. ūüėĀ

But her canter sucks.

Which I knew. No shocker there.(she didn’t really say it sucked, she was far too nice to put it that way).

And then I got back on…

I tried to replicate the lengthen and failed miserable. She said my hips were too tight. Which embarresed me, because I don’t want to be one of those old people with tight hips, but apparently I am (will work on this).

I did get great suggestions on improving the stretchy circle, leg yields, lengthens, and the trot overall.

And she gave me homework for the canter.

When I rode Joy again, after the lesson, I tried applying the homework she gave me for the canter and found i could duplicate a good canter at home. I think spending more time focusing on the canter overall will help a great deal over time.

Anyway, what I liked most was that this instructor was able to make quite significant changes and effect change within the first 15 minutes of my lesson, that she saw Joy as a pony with potential, and that she was excited to work with us.

I’m really digging the new trainer!

We go back again July 6th. Hopefully I’ll have everything we covered this lesson addressed and we can start working towards bigger goals!

Also, I have vid, but my video editing software is a pain and I’m lazy, so you’ll get it later…

I think I shat myself a little

My second jumping lesson… read first lessons post here

I’ve got this ground pole business down now. I feel like a Queen surveying her realm when I look at a line of ground poles. Used to scare me to death to see two ground poles in a row.. but now? “What is this pathetic excuse of an exercise with just two measly ground poles? pfftt.”

So when the instructor set up a “Box” with ground poles… Ppffftt. No biggie.

She explains the exercise below. Trot in, keep turning right.


I’ve got this.

I’m cocky.

I am Phillip Dutton riding a Beginner Novice event with ease!!




Then the instructor raised the poles.

I trotted toward the box, eyes up, position a bit shaky, but holding up okay.  As soon as the pony hopped over the first cross pole, I immediately looked down. One trot step in the middle, and Pony put the breaks on for the next cross rail.

I had a momentary “Oh Shit” type feeling, but since we really didn’t have any speed it didn’t unseat me much. Pony kindly did a slow, calm hop over the second cross rail (saving my butt).

Whew! Made it through!

At this point I have to make an immediate right turn and line back up with the box for the second line.

I was a few strides out, staring down the quickly approaching cross rail…

Utterly freaked out.

Pulled the pony off the line and circled.

I didn’t even think. I just saw the first cross rail, panicked, and immediately turned the pony.

As soon as I realized what I’d done, I realigned the pony, and we popped through the box again. Immediate right turn, and hopped the next line.

After third line, I was so giddy that I thought I was done and went back to the rail, completely forgetting I was supposed to do one more line of jumps. Ha!

I swear though, that second line, I could actually hear my anus clamp shut in fear.


As a side note: This is the very first lesson I’ve ever taken where the word “twerking” was used to describe my riding position. HAHAHA!


Yes, I am so dang good, I can twerk while¬†jumping. jk. I don’t even know if twerk’s a word.

I’m starting to question my goal of participating in a beginner level eventing competition next fall.¬† Or maybe I just need to invest in some dark brown riding breaches. ūüėČūüėā

Work to Ride

The past two weeks have been a killer. Work, work, work. All work. No riding.

It was mildly acceptable due to the constant raining and cold temps, but now it’s sunny and warm. I don’t want to work after quitting time. I want to ride!

I wish I got comp time for working over time.

Hell, I wish I got paid for over time. I might actually be able to afford vacations.

I need a lesson. Badly. My riding has seriously degraded the past year and some months. I need someone to correct the bad habits I’ve picked up. I don’t know who to go to though.

Reasons why getting a lesson from current trainer is hard:

  • The current trainer leaves for Florida in a couple of weeks,
  • I don’t know if she even has a lesson horse I could use,
  • Joy isn’t ready for a 4 hour (round trip) trailer ride
  • Joy isn’t fit enough for a 45 minute hard lesson (lessons cost a lot, so has to be worth while).

So who else do I go to for help? It is not an option to go back to old trainer. She was good instructor-wise, but people-wise not so good. There are a few trainers within an hour of me that seem to do well on the rated circuit. They have students that seem to do well also.

Every time I try to email my trainer with questions on how I can get lessons this winter, all I hear in my mind is:

“Hi Current Trainer! Who can I go to for lessons half way across the state from where you live? Because you know every single trainer in the entire state, and exactly where they live in proximity to me.”

“Let me use your horse to take lessons on, while I accidentally whack him in the mouth and poke him in the ribs.”

“Why do you have to go to Florida all winter! I’m paying you $80 a month for lessons!!”

Pander to me, Dammit!!

I feel like a trainer/instructor is a resource that you don’t want to annoy with a bunch of inquires on how you can ruin their horse or give other people your money.

I’m going to post a video later tonight/tomorrow. You can see my new saddle and bell boots. ūüôā ¬†Plus, I can show you what I’m having issues with now (on Joy). Maybe one of you kind souls will take pity on me and offer some position fixes, or point out where I’m going wrong.

Blog Stagnation – And latest updates

I’ve been reading a really good book series lately. Every free second I get I bury my nose in my book. My desire to write blog posts about the things that are frustrating me is at zero lately.

Here’s the update:

I had two more lessons with Roz the past month. I hauled Ava to a show that the trainer was at so I could get a lesson (since the show was closer than the trainers barn). The lesson went well, and it highlighted the need for increasing Ava’s suppleness side-to-side. Ava was great even with all the commotion of the show. She got right down to work and tried her heart out.

The next two weeks I worked on canter half-pass, and also on bendy circles to loosen Ava up side-to-side.

Yesterday I had a lesson with Roz at this super amazing facility. I imagine this would be similar to what only the filthy rich and superbly talented would ride at. The footing was amazing. I’m not sure what was in it, but it was springy and cushioney. If I could ride on that every day I would think I had died and gone to heaven.

Back to the lesson… we worked on collection and transferring the signals to my seat. Or in other words, riding from my seat more. We also worked on half-pass at the trot, and finally some medium trot. I couldn’t hear that well so I was having some issues with that, but I also had some misunderstanding about how to actually do a half-pass. I’ll go into that more later, but I did end up getting a few strides where it was so totally obvious (feeling wise) that it was correct that I think I can actually attempt to duplicate it at home now.

I’ll post video later. It takes a while to process in order to edit, so I have to wait until it’s done processing.

Here are some pics to tide you over:

My first time tying Ava to a trailer. She was a good girl about it.

Yesterdays lesson with Roz in the super amazing, gargantuan indoor arena, with the superb footing (I want to live there): click an image to enlarge







I’m having issues… I hate issues.

For over a¬†year now, I’ve dramatically reduced my lessons from once a week to once a month in the summer, am using a different trainer, and for 6 months a year the trainer moves out of state (no lessons at all in the winter).

I was scared to make a change in trainers, and didn’t know how the decreased lessons would affect my riding. ¬†I’m on my own a majority of the time. What’s worse is that this year I’ve only been able to take two¬†lessons so far.

I really want to move up the levels of dressage as far as I possibly can without compromising the health and well-being of Ava (I love this horse). ¬†When my old trainer told me (at the beginning of last year) that my horse would¬†never¬†be competitive at Second Level, it really¬†unsettled me. I was willing to concede the point, but even if Ava could¬†never be competitive, I still knew something was wrong with our training… I just couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

It wasn’t until the Goodrich clinic last June that I realized what the holes were in our training. While fixing those, it made me rethink the entire idea of what it takes to create a successful dressage team. Which is when I decided to try a new trainer, even if it meant drastically less lessons.

But what I really want is two lessons a month year long. Not two to¬†five a year. I’m worried my progress will be stunted. ¬†Or worse… that I’ll ingrain some bad training into Ava before I’m able to get back for another lesson. I want to learn flying changes this year so I can work on them over the winter. I worried I’m not up to the task of doing this on my own….

What if I screw it up? What if I make it so bad it can’t be fixed later? I’ve never ridden a flying change in my life. My timing sucks. I try to hard. I frustrate Ava to no end. I don’t know how to train them, and I have no clue how to fix anything that may pop up once we start. But without changes, I’m stuck at Second… which is not where I want to be stuck at.