Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nous Sautons + A Dressage Lesson

To translate- We Jump + A Dressage Lesson. It just sounded better in french.  Anywho, since I mentioned something about having nothing exciting to write about... Cadence went and gave me something to write about! We were just having a light jump school, and I decided to try the serpentine exercise again.  We warmed up over the cross-rails on a circle first in the trot, and then in the canter before moving on to the serpentine.  When we went to try the circle to the left, Cadence took a really long spot to the fence and I was forced to slip my reins.  She landed on the incorrect lead, going way too fast. She tried to go left, as I opened my rein to go right, so realizing what she was doing, I decided to just sit there and let her turn wherever she wanted.  Keep in mind we're approaching the wall, and hast here.  There are maybe 2.5 strides between the x and the wall.  So while I sat there waiting for her to turn... she cantered on... heading straight for the wall.  I kept waiting and waiting for her to go one way or the other, and she just didn't turn!  As her nose was about to touch the wall, she slammed on the breaks, curled up her neck, and avoided severe catastrophe by mere millimeters.  We jumped the x a few more times on the left circle without incident, but I was a lot more careful about ensuring her canter was EXTREMELY collected, and that she'd let me hold her to her spot.  After a quick break (to let the other rider in the righ get some stuff done) we picked back up to work on the serpentine exercise.  The goal of the exercise is to change leads over every jump, and calmly ride the relatively tight turns associated with jumping serpentines in indoor arenas.  After our wall incident, I was a bit wary.  Turns out I had no need to worry- she jumped every single fence absolutely perfectly.  Twice.  I was stunned  She got every change, hit every distance, and only fought me on her pace once... which I was able to get under control in plenty of time to set up for the next fence.  We quit while we were ahead, and cooled out for the night.

The next day I had a dressage lesson. AFter a good warm up, we ran through some transitions and since the mare was being quite good and not grabbing/being rammy, we moved on to some leg yield work.  Cadence is still quite green with this, and has leg yielded in the trot less than 5 times.  She understands the aids when given in conjunction with the exercises we normally work on, but when given out of context it can take a try or two before she clues in.  Today (or Friday rather) we did some leg yield in the trot, then moved on to a new exercise to focus on getting her to move laterally off my aids, and into my outside rein.  To start, we trotted a circle at C.  Then, at R, you would transition to walk, and basically do a 180 so you were facing C.  Then leg yield/side pass to the opposite side of  the arena, pick up your trot, and repeat.  After doing this in both directions, we picked up canter, cantered a circle, and then rode the exercise so that you transitioned from canter (to trot) to walk, side passed, and picked up the canter again.  About here, Cadence had a little melt down and decided that this was too much work, too confusing, and not fun any more... so she wasn't going to move.  It took some convincing, but after doing it well a few times to the right, we moved to the left.  She did so well with it that at the end we skipped the trot, and asked her for her first walk-canter transitions... which she did beautifully!  Go mare!  After two walk-canters, we called it a day.

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