I had my first dressage lesson on Liberty on Wednesday. My lesson was with Danielle at Turning Point Farms It was really great and I learned a lot about Liberty and myself. Problem is that I learned that he is kind of a weasel. I have been riding him all soft and light and thinking "poor little guy, he's new, he's confused" Only, it's not true. It's more like "poor little Alice, I have put one over on her big time" I know part of it was b/c we were in a new place, but we would start around the circle and every so many strides he would tuck his nose, throw out his shoulder and take off in another direction. WHAT THE HECK??? So we started an exercise of having him circle in a 5 meter circle off the big circle in the problem locations. I had to really move him off my leg to get him going forward and not get stuck. The good news is that he is moving off my left leg now where he wasn't before! The bad news is that he still doesn't actually want to make a whole circle to the left. I'm convinced it's a balance issue. I think he gets upset b/c he feels out of balance and tries to right himself in the wrong way, so I spent some time working on bigger circles tomorrow with better results, but we have a long way to go. We did these exercises at the walk and trot and he got tons better for me as the lesson went on. Then Danielle got on him at the end and darn if that little guy didn't do everything to her he had just done to me even though we had spent an hour riding him! What a stinker! We spent an hour working on one exercises and I went home with instructions to longe him in side reins and to do more of the same work. I"m to work on keeping my hands lower and I have added a martingale to keep him from giving me a bloody nose!
Today is a big day! Maggie and I are taking Freeley and Liberty to the grasslands and he's going to go a "Real" ride. I have control over him. I can stop him, back him, rate him and turn him. It's not pretty but I have control I haven't decided what tack to use yet but it will be good whatever I do. The English saddle fits him much better, but I liked using the rubber training fork for the head slinging and I"m not sure I can hook that up with the English breast collar. I also don't know if the English saddle is going to be comfortable for 3 hours yet as I haven't been in it that long. I think it will probably be fine, but I"m not sure. So, I'm doing what I always do in moments of indecision: I am taking all my tack and will decide there!
Peter is coming with us to hike and hang out so I have to get moving or I won't be there in time to ride with my friend Nancy.