Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pony's first dressage lesson!

Pony and I had our first official dressage lesson today! We trailered out to a new place where we haven't been before. Pony loaded on the trailer like a champ and hauled perfectly. When she got off the trailer she was a little looky, but I remembered my last lesson with Charley and got her attention such that I could tack her up without tying her to the trailer. I left her halter on and took her bridle and went into the covered arena.

We did a bit of our standard ground work so that I could get her attention and focus on me instead of being a looky-loo all around. After a few minutes, I put her bridle on and went to the mounting block. She was a little wiggly so it took a couple passes before she was ready to stand for mounting, but we got it done. We walked off and got to work.

We started with some spirals in and out at the walk and changing direction. There were two other horses in the arena who were working, so she was a little distracted, but she wasn't naughty. I just focused on keeping her bent in the direction of the circle, keeping her forward, and keeping my hands soft.

I can't remember if it was when we were walking or started trotting, but when a horse came in to the arena she let out a squeal and a little hop. I laughed and told the trainer that she likes boys so she was probably distracted by the boy. Trainer said, well that's a stallion and he likes the ladies. Great. Actually, she was pretty good about it. After the initial squeal, she did try to trot faster when going in his direction and slower going away from him (we were on opposite ends of the arena), so it gave us a good chance to work on tempo and direction. We did lots of trot circles, transitions back and forth between walk and trot, change of direction, and we also went down the long side (using half of the arena) so she could move out a bit more.

She was nice and forward and soft in my hand and she's starting to seek the contact and go lightly on the bit.

We gave cantering a try and did get a trot-canter transition in each direction, but the left was harder than the right. We only cantered for a half circle or so, but we did get it done.

Pony got lots of compliments on how cute she is - of course! She handled all the commotion very well - people and horses coming and going, working around a stallion (!), dogs running about outside, etc. It was a great first outing to this new place! In the end she didn't want to leave so we had a little discussion about paying attention and getting on the trailer, but it wasn't a big deal. She hauled nicely home and when we got there I tied her to the trailer for five minutes and then put her in her pasture for lunch.

We're going to go for weekly lessons. It was a lot of fun!

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