|A rare photo of me riding my pony, taken by another human being|
Given the mood-boosting power of a good romp around the fields, I decided to try an experimental sort of warm up before I had Michael take some video of Dino and I schooling some flatwork. Instead of starting off with the dressage work right off the bat, I rode Dino down to the far corner of our big field to do a little trot and canter back up to the spot where we'd do our flatwork. I figured it couldn't hurt to start off with something he likes (trotting and cantering in a straight line out in the open) to get him warmed up for something he's lukewarm about at best (dressage). It's all about compromise with this obstinate being of mine.
The result of my experiment was quite encouraging! While he didn't engage the turbo thrusters, Dino seemed to enjoy getting warmed up this way, and it was easy to get down to work with him once we reached the top of the hill.
Additionally - how incredibly, epically vast is our farm!? I GET TO RIDE HERE EVERY DAY. I am so blessed.
With the exception of my rogue left hand which seems to always want to let go of the rein and do strange things, and the fact that I still loooove to sit against/behind the motion, I was pretty pleased with what I saw on the videos. Especially in the walk. Guys, Dino's walk work is getting really good! Even being a bit out of shape and out of practice at this point in the year, it's so easy for me to get him straight, through, and really pushing in the walk. It feels amazing.
|More of this, please!|
The trot work was pretty decent - not super great, but Dino and I definitely had some bright moments. I did a lot of sitting trot without stirrups, and worked on lengthening and shortening a bit. My left hand is forever doing its own thing, but again, I'm quite happy with what I see here considering the challenging footing.
|This was a bit of a lengthening|
|OMG, self, stop sitting behind the motion and maaaaaybe your pony can use his back better.|
|Must sit up. And stop doing whatever I'm doing with that left hand.|
We didn't do a whole lot of canter, again, because footing. The edge of the hill where we did our little warm up romp was quite a bit better than the flat bit at the top where we did our dressage work. The canter work we did do was OK - Dino wasn't 100% engaged and I was definitely riding a bit conservatively because of the mud, but if this is our "meh" canter, I'll take it.
The video footage doesn't totally horrify me, which is a victory in itself. We definitely have a lot to do in order to get back in fighting shape, but considering how early it is in the season after a winter of very light work, and the craptacular ground we had to work on, I'm OK with what I see.
Video can be such a challenge - both in overcoming weird performance anxiety because someone else is watching you while taking video, and in not picking out every horrible thing you see when you watch it afterwards. I'm really proud of myself for not riding like a weirdo just because someone was there watching, and quite happy that I'm finding ways to keep Dino happy as we get back to work for the season.