Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Dressage Session

This is a dressage week. One might think that the non-jumping weeks would be the easier weeks, but not so, or at least in my opinion. I actually find the flat weeks to be more difficult. In dressage we’re usually working constantly on all those subtle nuances to get the correct carriage, the right stride length, the “perfect” cadence, the bending, the rounding, the list just goes on & on. So usually you’re really working every single step and every single moment of the session. At least if you’re working the way you should be anyway. Tonight Ann had me working very, very hard on getting Lulu round. Really hard. So hard that I think my arms and abs and back and even my hands and fingers are going to be sore tomorrow. A lot of it was very much almost a tug-of-war between Lulu & me. My holding her front end back, heavily restricting the movement, while constantly driving her forward and onto the bit, through her back and hind-quarters with my seat & legs. Every single step we had this push & pull going, with my pushing her on the bit, while holding the momentum in and also resisting her inclination to get heavy on the forehand. It was truly exhausting, but also deeply satisfying. It was about 15 degrees tonight and both of us were drenched in sweat when we were done. I think I sweated as much had I been out running in this temperature. And I was dressed with about the same amount of clothes and layers that I would have been had I been running too, turtleneck and light-weight half-zip fleece & breeches that are about the same fabric weight my running pants would be.

At one point during the session Ann mentioned something about Lulu always having a variety of riders (being a school horse) so that she can have some bad habits to overcome, or at the very least, stuff that some riders let her get away with. Anyway, she mentioned something about “some bad riders and some good riders” and I had to wonder if I was of the bad or the good variety. I guess I don’t want to think too hard about that.

So, it was very good lesson, very effective. I learned some stuff and maybe even remembered some stuff from my former riding life. And it also turned out to be a pretty good workout too, which is always a good bonus. I spent an extra half an hour at the barn walking Lulu in the ring to cool her out and dry her sweaty self. It was a pleasure really as I love to spend any kind of time with this horse, she’s such a sweetie and deserved all the carrots and apples and peppermints that I had in my pockets.

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