Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #241

September 10, 2014: Lessons Learned: Group Lesson Particulars

Goals are decisions made and a direction chosen. When you have a place to go, you move in that direction. If you never start, you’re not going anywhere.
Jane Savoie

Last night, lesson at the Sindorf Center, the upscale and exclusive local boarding/riding facility. I went there because Beth’s outdoor riding arena surface was too waterlogged. I hesitated before heading over there because in addition to the instructor fee, there’s also an arena fee. However, Pete said that we could do this, just this once.

The change in venue, with its added expense was well worth the cost. There’s a very spacious saddle up/grooming area that’s adjacent to a spacious arena that has excellent footing. As Cath also remarked “And they have a flush toilet here!”

I put Rosie in the cross tie area – these are separated by metal posts – and she immediately settled in, allowing Blaine to braid her mane and tail. I tacked Rosie up and then took her for our pre-ride walk in the arena. We fist stopped and checked out the objects in the corners – manure buckets and poles, and walked past the open half door that separates the inner area and the arena. And we stopped next to the half-wall itself, and listened for a bit to the noises emanating from the saddle area.

Then I walked over to the mounting block area and got on Rosie. I could tell immediately that she was focused and ready to go to work. We alternated walking and trotting, doing BIG circles and doing diagonals. In my estimation, Rosie was doing better than she’d done on Sunday. Perhaps it was because this time my stirrup leathers were both the same length.

Upon Beth’s arrival, we finished our warm up and began our more formal lesson. We (Heather, Cath, and I) trotted around the perimeter of the arena, and then went to the center, where Beth then gave a short talk on using the reins when circling. She explained that the outside rein is used to regulate speed and that the inside rein is used to determine direction. So you keep a steady hand on the slightly looser outside rein and a jiggling hand on the slightly tighter inside rein. As for the legs – the outside leg goes behind the girth and the inside leg stays at center.

We were then instructed to make turns at the A, B, E, and C markers – that is the center areas of each wall. I noticed that as I did this, Rosie moved in a more forward and free fashion than say on Sunday. She still fell in on her right shoulder, cutting the turns a bit – but less so than previously.

Beth next gave a short lecture on seat position. There is the two point -- where you rise out of the saddle; the driving seat -- where you use your back and pelvic seat bones and push the horse forward; and the sitting seat – where you use your pelvic seat bones and go forward with the horse. After we practiced this, we again went around the arena at a trot.

Then Beth gave a short lecture on hand position used when jumping. There’s the mane handhold – where rein contact is minimal; the low rise -- where mane contact is a bit firmer; and the high rise – where the hands are down.

We then practiced all of the above at the trot, with Beth yelling out dictates. We then practiced going over a small block cross jump that was set up at the side of the arena. Then we reversed direction. The last few times I asked Rosie to canter and felt her surge forward. This was an indication to me that she really wanted to be jumping.

Rosie and I then followed Meagan on Fiero and Emily on Gracie (first) over the small cross jump, and then over the two cross jumps that were at the center of the arena. Rosie by now really wanted to go – and so I let her. We went over the first jump nicely, took the corner a bit tight, then surged over the two cross jumps. Rosie was so energetic that it was almost scary. I later realized that what happened betwixt the two of us was that I’d given her permission to go forward fast. She reciprocated by being very polite about this, and not bolting, which was something that she could easily have done.

The lesson ended after our doing the above four or so times. By now, Rosie was fairly warm and panting a bit. So I took her back to the cross tie area and set up a large fan. Pete gave her some water, and I put some cut up apples in it – Rosie then had a good time, sloshing the water about in an attempt to get at the treats.

In my mind, the lesson seemed to have ended a bit soon. Also, I wanted to do more jumping. However, talking with both Pete and Vickie enabled me to see things in a more positive light. First of all, with Raudi and arena work, less is always better. Best always to end with her wanting more instead of the opposite. Vickie also explained to me that the focus on the inside winter lessons is on equitation, in part because the show season is over. This, I later realized is fortuitous because this is what we now both need. I just have to constantly remind myself that the flatwork will benefit us in the long run. Vickie also said that I can use the time well, and if Beth is working with others on more rudimentary things, to practice things on my own.

I’m, of course, now looking forward to Friday. The next lesson might be at the Sindorf Center – it depends on if it’s raining or not. If so, I’m going to dig under the car seats and see if I can’t scrape together the arena fee. We’ll see.

Next: 242. 9/1114: Part 1: Obession: Defining What it is