Monday, September 29, 2014

More Moe Lessons!

 For my last two lessons, I rode Moe again to get a better feel for her and learn more. Since she is trained in dressage I work on keeping her on the bit the entire ride, except when walking, As you may remember, she gets a little sore sometimes from being older and can't always pick up the left lead(she has a nice counter canter though), but both Saturday and Monday I was able to get the correct lead several times. Fortunately she isn't as difficult to ride on the incorrect as Chester is.

 Last Saturday I worked her around the dressage arena, trying to get her on the bit. Moe willingly gets on the bit for the most part, even if she doesn't always hold it for very long. After working for several minutes I was able to get her on the bit, and there were several times that felt really nice. Moe was connected and went at a steady pace that wasn't too fast or slow.

 For my first ride on Moe I had only rode on a small circle while I got used to her since she is very fast, but Saturday I rode a 20 meter circle and even on the straight. First, though I worked on a 20 meter trot circle at E to the right, slowing spiraling it in and out using my weight to balance Moe and bring her to a steady, slow pace. When it seemed like to was about to walk, I would spiral the out. Then I made it a bit smaller and asked for the canter right. I made a circle, spiraling it to a 20 meter then heading down the side of the arena toward F, around the corner, and back onto my circle once I reached E. Though Moe's canter is fast, it's not intimidating after riding Chester, who can challenging as I mentioned before, and I was able to make it collected with some half-halts.

 I did the same exercise to the left, but I took several tries to get the correct lead. When I did I rode her on several 20 meter circles. I was using a bit to much inside rein because of her speed, something I need to try not to do before it becomes a habit.

Trying a leg yield.
 I also did some leg yields on her. Once I had my position, reins, and legs correct, I was able to get some beautiful leg yields. I tried them in both directions, both over short distances, from centerline to E or B, or over long distances all the to P or V. Moe's leg yields feel nice and I can really tell that her legs are stretching in front of the other legs. It's a wonderful feeling.

 Next, I rode through my Training Level test. The pattern was correct, but I was focused so much on the pattern itself that I didn't connect Moe to the bit.

 I did better at it on the following Monday. The lesson started out similarly with me riding Moe in the arena and connecting her to the bit. Moe was much faster at trotting that day, even more so than in previous lessons but I was able to control her. I rode across short diagonals several times, changing directions quite often throughout the lesson. While I rode I worked on getting Moe on the bit. Sometimes she would lift her head up or turn to the inside when I wasn't using enough outside rein or when I she wasn't connecting, but I continued to ask and was able to get her on the bit many times.

 Next I cantered. Like in my previous lesson, I rode the spiraling exercise before asking for the canter transition, and when I cantered right I went around the short side of the arena and back onto my circle at E. For the left canter, Moe didn't canter on the correct lead, so I tried an exercise to get her to pick up the correct lead. I would ask for canter right, head toward F, the across the diagonal K to B so I would be heading left. At B, I would trot, then ask for canter almost right away. This caused Moe to pick up the left lead on the circle. I didn't get the same result the next time since Moe realized what would happen.

 Soon after I began my Training Level test. Besides not getting the left canter, it went well. The pattern was correct and Moe was on the most of the time. The best part was probably the the free walk---Moe has a nice one and likely picked up a lot of free walk points when she was a show horse.

 I had a nice two lessons. The cool thing is that Meghan says Moe seems to like me. It's a neat to have a horse, especially a mare like you. Meghan also says that I rode Moe well, and not everyone does because of her Thoroughbred speed. I'm going to ride Moe in lessons from no on, so it's nice that my rides on her have started out well.


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