I had the hubby come out to film Dani and I trotting. I wanted to see if I could determine what I was feeling at the trot. Sometimes it feels like Dani lurches forward into the trot at the beginning or sometimes in the middle. I want to work on getting her trot steady, I'm looking for rhythm.
Doing some of this trot work I also noticed she anticipates and even if I just turn her at the walk she'll want to start trotting. We have to do lots of turns, circles, figure 8's and serpentines to keep the trot from speeding up. I need to also do that at the walk so she understands it can be at any gait. Since she hasn't really had formal training most of her life it seems she needs to retaught cues. I think I have to be overly "dramatic" when I cue to make her understand and then back off. I also need to correct her firmly if I didn't ask for a trot or movement. We are getting to some difficult areas, nothing I can't handle but I may want some eyes on the ground at some point to help us through this.
These are two videos filmed early in the 30 minutes we rode. I was happy that I'm getting the sitting trot to work better and more often. I still get out of whack and sometimes revert to the posting trot to get back in sync. I really can't seem to see the speeding up I feel that Dani does, the thing that M says sort of lurches me forwards at times. I need to keep watching both the regular time and slow-mo. Perhaps Dani is just changing stride tempo but not really speeding up? She's certainly not balanced but she's not that fit either. We need to build her muscles up before I can even really work on collection and I need help with how I'm supposed to eventually teach her that!
In between bouts of trotting we walked and I focused on getting her move where I need her to go. She often seems to turn her head like she's looking at me and walking with her body crooked. More to work on.
Most of the time I can get Dani to halt with my seat but she still has a high head when we halt. Steve caught us in the perfect moment of awkwardness. At least she was listening and not needing me to pull on the reins to stop.
I'm not looking for perfection or to make Dani into a dressage horse. I'm not even trying to get her to the level of Divine (former lesson horse). I just want a nice relaxing ride where I am in control. My dream is to ride Dani on trails and have fun with EXCA or trail competitions someday. I don't think I have the patience, time or knowledge to get a horse to a completely collected level and I really don't want to reach for that.....too boring for me. Now if I wanted to work on that type of riding I would find a horse that was already trained that way. I just want to have fun and good communication with my mare. Piaffes and perfect sidepasses are great but not the be all end all of riding. Fun and safety are my desire.
Below is another video of us. It's in regular time and then slow motion. I try to stay off her mouth but I think some of the bouncing has made me pull more than I should on her mouth at times. I need to work on more independent hands at the trot. That's hard when you are tense and working on a million other things! We just need practice.
I feel like we have worked on the trot a little bit in the past but now it's a bigger desire plus we are rusty. I don't feel as nervous so I can concentrate on what we need to work on rather than making sure I breath and don't freak out. I think we did pretty well together considering. We have a long ways to go but I love that she is willing and trying. It will click for her if I keep working on the trot and stay consistent with my aids. Also making sure she understands when I'm not asking for the trot. I need to remember to not concentrate too hard and actually coo to her when she is doing exactly what I want more often. I try to tell her she's so smart and a good girl, I can always improve on that though.
Steve took a little ride on her after I was done but that didn't last more than a couple minutes since she wasn't listening to his directions and tried to trot a couple times. The anticipation is something we have to stop, "Horse, this is your Captain speaking!" (Julie Goodnight saying!). Steve needs to do some actual riding but I don't know if Dani is really the horse for him to learn on. Honestly I don't want to be the one to "teach" him to ride so I think when we get another horse it will have to come with lessons too. I hopped back on Dani and made sure to get her into a state of listening. We even worked on some turns on the forehand. She's maybe at 50% in getting those done well, I'm very happy with the progress there too.
I'll keep working with her. M is good to ride with since we seem to be on the same page with our desires for riding and some of our struggles. She even suggested her riding my mare and me riding Scotty sometime. That could be interesting. He's such a petite Arab looking Morgan but seems to naturally carry himself well; we'll both be in for a change in ride for sure! But perhaps with M riding Dani she'll give me some insight into things I could try as I work on these areas with my girl.
Isn't she the cutest little red mare?