Nervous Rider Plays Dressage Outside

Since I seldom ride when people are around, the photos of my rides generally consist of ear shots. While those beat nothing are nice, it was fabulous to have A this weekend to not only take pictures of me, but to coach me on dressage things. I’ve been mulling over the idea of taking dressage lessons, but I’d like to find someone who would come to the farm to work with us mostly. I wouldn’t mind hauling on occasion, but, as I’ve mentioned before, Jason is the trailer driver, and his work schedule is different every other week.

Since A rode on Thursday night, Copper knew what to expect when I asked him for all the contact on Saturday. He went right into frame in the barn, though I had to encourage him to move forward out of the jog. According to A, we were still jogging when we moved out, but more of a normal person’s definition of a jog than his western pleasure jog.

A bit overflexed in the barn. I couldn’t help but share us riding in the former hay storage area though.

11055320_10153066744309065_5163821369252544577_oOnce I’d ridden in the barn for a while, we decided to conquer my fear of riding Copper in the open field. After seeing A on Thursday, I was completely at ease with it, which surprised even me. I did consciously let out a couple of deep breaths once I was outside, just to make sure that I wasn’t tensing up. I do that so frequently without noticing. G focused a lot on my breathing while cantering in lessons, so I thought since I was riding out for the first time, focusing on my breathing would be wise.

Grinning like a goof while looking at Copper’s neck. You know, where I’m not supposed to be looking.

Copper focused on me so well outside. Robin and Paige were grazing in the field, and Kricket was out in the field that she and Copper were sharing, but he didn’t seem interested in any of them. He was pretty lazy, so I had to use more leg than I’ve used since I rode Paige last in a long time.

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Another thing we’ll have to work on prior to showing is getting him to raise his head. As a stock horse hunter and a western pleasure horse, he’s programmed to ride with his head even with his withers, not above. He was being so well behaved that I kind of wanted to test my theory about cantering him, but he’d been so good that we hated to get into a fight with him if he did decide┬áto be sassy.

Probably my new favorite picture of me riding Copper. Robin and Paige in the background add to it. ­čÖé

Towards the end of my ride, I let him have his head to stretch out and asked him to jog like a pleasure horse (since we’ve been working on that all winter long…). It didn’t take but two deep breathes and feeling me sink into the saddle a little bit to put him in the western pleasure mindset. He dropped his head and slowed immediately. It’s really nice how willing he is to be so versatile. Good Copper.

Now if it will quit being so stormy or so ridiculously hot, I would go ride him out again. Crazy weather!

MANY thanks to A for coaching us and the wonderful pictures!