This episode of TLH brought to you by Lee, from Confessions of a Struggling Dressage Rider, and Shaun, who graciously took pictures, happily clueless that they show Jane with an independent seat. That she doesn’t want anyone to see. Ever.
My job, 2 or 3 days a week was to ride Hudson low level dressage-ish (hang on to the ish, we’re going to use it in a visual aid). It was cross training to his roping training. No circles, nothing that might put stress on his joints. My job was to relax him, get him stretchy and rhythmic, ask him to put his head down, lift his back and swing.
My trainer says I have a quiet seat. Hudson scoffed: obviously she isn’t underneath you. My seat never shut up. To Hudson, my seat was an unpredictable, anxiety causing monster that suddenly demanded weird moves with no warning.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I asked him to pick up a left lead in front and right lead behind. Extremely uncomfortable for us both. Or, since I tend to weight one seat bone more, we’d start a walk spiral in, and then suddenly shoot off on an opposite lead canter when I over-adjusted.
We could empty an arena in seconds.
The Ish in full exposure:
We’re walking on the buckle. I’d just given him the seat aid to turn left so we wouldn’t get too close to Shaun, it’s not the collapsed looking left side. Although, come to think of it, it shouldn’t look collapsed. Dang you, dropped shoulder!
This is my “draped” leg position on H.
Classic Dressage-Ish riding.
I’ve got a lot of work to do. Obviously I decided to go with no window coverings at all.
Shaun is clicking away, nicely documenting all my flaws. (I got a ton of pictures you can frame and hang! Wait till you see!)
Shaun said, “Can you show me his tricks?”. Her voice was happy. WHOA. She got excited. About a horse. I need to produce a trick! Probably “watch the vanishing carrot” isn’t what she means. I frantically flip through my English to Horse translator book. Oh. She wants me to do something visually impressive.
Falling off, while visually impressive, is probably not a good idea. I drop the reins on Hudson’s neck, put my hands on my thighs, and do a turn on the forehand. Circle left, circle right, do a turn on the haunches, leg yield across the diagonal.
“When are you going to do something?” Shaun asks, cheerfully.
Right. Non-horse person. What to do…? I drop my inside hip and we instantly go into a nice canter, reins still on neck.
I glance at Shaun, causing Hudson to determine I’ve asked for a 10 M circle at the canter. He dutifully starts the collected canter circle. Shaun is still waiting for the show. Fine. We come out of the circle, I loosen my seat and we tear up the long side of the arena, gallop throttle open wide.
I cue to halt. We stop dead, instantly, reins still on neck. Butt slightly tucked, ready to move in any direction. Ooooo. Bonus! He’s square.
“Um. That’s it?” says Shaun. “Just riding?”
It’s going to be an uphill educational process.
The dinner truck rumbles up the hill to Hudson’s paddock, alfalfa at nose height, inches from the arena rail. He’s quivering. ACK. I can’t move. If I relax, tense up, signal movement in any form, Hudson is not beyond a little “oops, sorry, misunderstood the signal”. We’ll hit the gas, take the 4 foot rail, and ambush the dinner truck. Hudson has food issues. (We were made for each other.)
Quick! Pick up the reins!
You may as well see all my flaws. When I finally do pick up the reins, my hands are in my lap. In Every. Single. Photo.
Even when he’s thinking about bucking. Groan.
Okay okay, trainer, here we come.
Sorry, apparently galloping flat out with no reins around the arena looks boring to a non-horse person. No photos.