|Too cute for his own good|
On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling tired. I seriously considered staying home and napping instead of going to the barn, and wasn't terribly motivated to ride. There wasn't anything I was particularly focused on working on, and I figured that I'd just get Dino out and walk/trot/canter for half an hour or so and then go home, since I wasn't in the mood for an intense schooling session.
I didn't really make a plan before I got on, I didn't get in a thoughtful, mindful, focused frame of mind, and I didn't take my time creating a good walk, before a good trot, before a good canter.
And you know what? My pony went like CRAP. For the first half hour of the ride he was resistant, behind the leg, heavy in my hands, tense, and short-strided. I was getting annoyed. "DO THE THING!" I yelled at him. "YOU AREN'T LISTENING!" he yelled back.
I wasn't listening. At all.
So, 30 minutes in, I finally took the hint from Dino that MAYBE I wasn't giving him the best of my focus and understanding. I slowed it way down. I made a good walk. I listened to what Dino was telling me about how he was feeling and what he needed from me in order to do what I was asking. While I didn't achieve the magical sunshine and rainbows that was last week's dressage rides, things got better and I was able to quit on a better note than where we started.
And then I read Aimee's post and it really hit home - my crappy attitude gave me a crappy ride, simple as that.
|Happy pony = rider smiling so hard she gives herself more chins|
When I actually paid attention to the way that my pony was responding to my aids and adjusted accordingly, instead of just strong-arming him around, he stretched over his back sooner. He softened to the bit better. I didn't have to argue with him about anything, because I was listening to what he was saying and having a civilized conversation instead of overwhelming him with my selfish emotional state. I didn't demand that he go perfectly round and through before he was fully warmed up, and we had some of the best stretchy trot that we've had in a long time.
Things really got awesome when I dropped my stirrups. Like Carly, lately I'm having trouble riding dressage as well with stirrups as I do without. I don't know what my deal is. [help?] In any case, I played around with some shoulder-in and haunches-in to get Dino straighter since his hind end was kind of freewheeling it around wherever, and once I got those back legs under control the power and throughness in the trot was fabulous! He also really wanted me to hold him up with my left rein at times, but being mindful and tactful with my inside spur [one quick jab instead of endless, dull nagging] resulted in the wonderful response of Dino standing up more on that inside hind leg and getting off my hands.
Good riding, amiright?!
I worked a bunch on the canter, eventually achieving the round left lead departs that have been eluding us lately. Dino is starting to step up into the bridle more often than flinging his head and THEN dropping into the contact, which is very exciting! He was a little tight and stuck in the left lead canter overall, but we had some really lovely moments of throughness on the right lead. I am trying hard to sit straight and balanced [DQ position] with my hands still like we worked on in our last lesson, and just let Dino carry us, but it is HARD! I can find the position easily, but not nagging or getting crazy with the inside rein is really tough.
The moral of this story is: get on your pony with good intentions and a mindful heart, or don't get on at all.