If you are a dressage enthusiast, then today was one of those days that made you go, “Wow!” By the time the day was over, 30 of the Olympic riders had scores over 70% at Grand Prix and three were over the 80% mark. Holy <horse poop>!!! Can’t even imagine achieving 80% at any level let alone Grand Prix. Thank goodness that so many magazines and companies are posting photos and information online and on Facebook. Certainly not getting great coverage on television. Had to resort to using my cell phone to be able to access the online videos in order to see some of the rides…way to go NBC.
Today was our weekly lesson. Ms. C is trying to instill in me correct riding and training as well as what the correct movement/connection/throughness feels like. Teaching feel is a tricky thing especially on a green horse. We have glimpses of correctness, but just as quickly they are gone. I have moments of proper position, and then it is gone and I’m again flapping like a chicken. Ms. C has impeccable timing and will let me know when I’ve achieved the perfect moment, “there, did you feel that, you had it for the first three strides and then you threw it away.” *^%$$* Rider error again. Keeping the proper rein length is sometimes challenging for me. Inattentiveness, sweaty gloves, loose fingers…I’ve got it all. Ike has good reasons for his inability to maintain his position – he is young, he is still filling out and muscling up, and he is still learning what I want from him. I could come up with excuses, but what is the point. If I want to ever make it out of the lower levels, I’ve got to figure it out and learn to do things correctly.
Straightness was a problem to start, but once the rider guided him a bit more, Ike’s body parts stopped wiggling. Ms. C worked with us on our transitions since that seemed to garner us the most comments from the judge at the last show. We are the weakest in the comeback from free walk to medium walk, so that is where we spent a good amount of time. Hmm, yet again, rider error in gathering the reins too slowly contributes to the problem. So many problems to solve… We also worked on our walk-trot and trot-walk transitions. Ike starts to anticipate the trot and will hop into the trot. No Ike, you must wait for me. Found that Ike was stiffer on the right today and I really had to work to get the proper bend and flexion. The right lead canter is also not as solid as the left because of the stiffness. Ended the lesson working on a figure 8 at the trot; we even had some successful sit trot on the circles. The circles helped the stiffness to the right and finally, Ike unlocked that throatlatch area for some flexion. Phew!