It has been a good while since I have been able to take a lesson. I was doing well and took 3 fairly close together but then I hurt my knee and had to go out of town (twice) plus life left little time for riding. I finally decided to set aside time to take a lesson and wasn't taking no for an answer but alas the lesson had to be rescheduled. Twice. Monday was finally the day, however, and I took a lesson!
The goal was to check our progress in dressage on the App to see how things were going and to hopefully show progression. I rode the App in dressage several times leading up to Monday and was liking how things were progressing. Using K's tips I was able to get the App to be forward and using his rear fairly quickly and we have been having good rides so I was optimistic.
We started the lesson and the instructor, I will call K, had me warm up like I normally do, she wanted to just watch. She had very little to say during warmup but she did keep reminding me to keep my hands together more. Stupid bad habits. She was happy with how the App was moving and said he had a beautiful trot in such a small body and that she was impressed at how far he has come since we have been in a "vacuum" for so long. We had taken a lesson that went well but showed the App's flaws and then no instruction and yet we were suddenly at this level which surprised her.
The App worked very hard and though he showed his appytude at times, he was a good horse who tried hard. He quickly engaged his hindquarters and with some spiraling in and out we were able to keep his hind end engaged even on some 10 meter circles. The App loves to poke his nose out and/or drop his shoulder through the turns instead of planting his hind end and pushing through the turn. We were able to get a great trot almost every time we asked after the warmup and she again commented how she wouldn't expect such a nice trot out of this kind of a horse. Yay Appy! Let's try showing this trot in a class sometime instead of being a pogostick, no?
K had us work on some counter canter which is hard for the App. A few years ago I installed flying lead changes and now the App makes them automatically. As a result the counter canter is non-existent and that is something we need to develop to progress in dressage. So much for being proactive on my part. K had us try tiny serpentines and the App would get it going to the left but almost impossible on the right. I tried pushing his haunches in and it helped but wasn't working too well. I had ridden almost 40 mins at this point and K asked if she could try his canter out. Sure, why not?
K hopped on and dropped the stirrups instead of adjusting the length and rode the App to a crisper trot. It required a lot of kicking to get him to really engage like she wanted him to, he can be a real pain when he wants, but she finally got the trot she was looking for and he looked awesome. She was able to keep him from dropping his shoulders through the circle and kept him engaged, it was nice. She then worked on the counter canter and she was only slightly more successful which made me feel better. She was able to get him to do it a couple of times both directions though he did switch on her several times. She suggested trying to push him into a leg yield into the outside wall to get him into the counter canter but said to expect trouble going to the right. She was only able to get him to do it twice and said to just keep practicing.
Overall the only comments she had for me was to keep working on keeping my hands together and that I need to try to be aware of putting more weight in my left stirrup. I am not sure that is something I can actually do since I stand with 20 more pounds on my left leg than my right leg due to multiple knee surgeries on my right leg. I will try harder at it but it may be something I can't fix. I am looking forward to my next lesson which probably won't be until the first week of January. I am going to work on TWH next, poor guy isn't going to know what hits him. Ha! Hope everyone has a great Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa or Happy Holidays!