Enchanted Furry Beach Ball
The past few months have been full of exciting progress for Dino and I in our dressage work. We may not be doing anything fancy, but we've been coming closer and closer to mastering some very important skills and concepts, and he's been moving and working better than ever. It's been a total thrill to unlock and discover just how good we can get once we start actually implementing correct dressage work!
This week has so far been an easy one for us riding-wise, with time off some days and very low-key rides other days. Both Dino and I needed a bit of a let-down period before digging back into lessons and getting in as much solid work as we can before winter. On Thursday afternoon, I decided to warm up with a nice little hack around the farm and then do a bit of dressage work in the back field, mostly to check in and see how he was feeling since his bodywork and laser treatment earlier in the week.
He felt SO connected, powerful, and straight! This meant I had to really be tactful with my aids, because Dino was listening, and 100% willing and able to respond to what I was asking. It was exciting to feel him really using the base of his neck well, especially in the areas where he had felt stuck and tight. Every time I asked for more, whether it was bend, length of stride, or roundness through his body, Dino said "YES MA'AM!" Even shoulder-in left, which I'd been struggling to achieve for the past few weeks, felt easy and put Dino right into the outside rein where he needed to be.
The awesomeness continued in trot, though for the first few minutes of trot work Dino just wanted to GO PLACES! He got a bit strung out and disconnected, and too quick with his front end, but came right back to me with some half-halts through my thigh. After working through some (really great, uphill!) trot lengthenings and getting him to stretch in the canter, I dropped my stirrups and slowed things down, deciding to work on more "collected" gaits.
|the sunsets here never, ever get old|
Guys, it was some of THE BEST work we've done.
Dino stayed right with me, kept reaching out to the contact despite me asking for him to collect himself a bit, and just got MORE connected and MORE round the more we worked. We practiced mostly transitions - working walk to trot, to halt, to trot, to canter, back to trot, etc. In no time, each transition - up and down - was balanced and uphill, and I could feel Dino lifting up through his withers each time he took a beat to balance and then transition into the next gait, bringing his back up to meet my seat.
I felt like I was flying along on an enchanted, furry beach ball and caught myself laughing and shouting praise to my pony! Dino was so bouncy, round, and light, and never once even thought about saying "No" or "I Can't". We had a joyful time playing around with those lovely gaits of his, and after a few minutes of stellar effort I dropped the reins and we moseyed back up to the barn.
The most exciting thing is, though, that now I understand how to get him into Enchanted Beach Ball Mode, and I'm looking forward to the day when that is our everyday way of going!