Now that I have a saddle that fits both of us, I can shift my attention to riding. I haven’t gotten a ton of lessons in the last 6 years. I could really use a tune up but its really difficult to do that in my situation. Eventually I will find a trainer who I can go to or who will come to me. I can’t justify spending a lot of money so I’ll have to do my research and take my time.
In the meantime, I’m my trainer. Its kinda difficult to do since I can’t really see myself unless I have someone videotape me. Even if I do have someone do that, I don’t have the confidence that I will be able to tell what I’m doing wrong. I’m hoping to learn a bunch through reading forums and books. I have such a long wishlist of horse books on amazon now. I’m sure I will eventually own them all but they aren’t cheap. Specifically with horse instruction books, I really like them in physical form. The pictures and graphics included usually do not translate well to kindle and these are some of the most important things for learning.
Basically what I’ve been doing while riding is trying to get us to a good starting point for working on more advanced things again. I need to get Scarlet and me back into shape. We’ve been working on communicating better. I know that my communication is not as sharp as it used to be. He isn’t necessarily not listening but I know I need to be better than I am. Scarlet hasn’t had 6 years off of riding. I have.
I just got in a dressage book since these seemed to have more riding basics and rider instruction than just a flat work exercise book. The one i got is Jane Savoie’s Dressage 101. I haven’t read through much of it yet. Its super thick so I imagine it will take me a while, even at the speed I read. I’ve also been going slightly slower due to really wanting to absorb it. I’m not planning on doing dressage seriously. I don’t have the patience for it. I don’t like something that seems to have fairly arbitrary scoring. (No offense to anyone who rides dressage) I’d prefer to do something where its obvious that you didn’t get it, like a rail falls. But dressage basics are definitely necessary for all disciplines so I really want to absorb how they teach the basics.
I read a couple of chapters and then went to ride Scarlet. I figured I’d test out the first couple of lessons, checking is Scarlet was on my legs and if I could get him to halt correctly. The halt was super important to me since my downward transitions have always been my worst area. I never really understood how exactly you were supposed to ask for them without pulling back on the reins. The explanation of using your legs to keep the energy going forward, squeezing your fists to stop the energy and “stilling” your seat. The stilling the seat is still a difficult idea for me.
Scarlet and I practiced these for a bit during our last ride. We did fine that them though I probably need to be more strict with how prompt I want my halts to be. He will kinda take a couple of steps after my cue. But most of our lesson was an argument about how fast he was trotting. He was fine for our warm up but after a walk break, he wouldn’t trot at a non kidney jaring pace. I believe this was because he was anticipating cantering. He loves to go fast. This was actually a fault we dealt with 10-12 years ago when I first got him. Its funny to have to go through it again. I wonder if we will go through all the vices that we dealt with long ago one by one again.
I need to try and do a just walk- trot ride occasionally just to keep him waiting for my aids before anticipating the canter. It will take time. Hopefully working on some of the other exercises from my new dressage book will help with these too. Not sure if they will but an overall better ride from me will definitely help rather than hurt.