Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday Lesson Night with Veann Leps & Police Escort!

Last night was a fun night for me - I got to do something I rarely get to do - have a riding lesson for myself. Over the last couple years my lessons for myself have usually come in the form of clinics with Don Halladay focusing on natural horsemanship techniques. These have been excellent learning opportunities for me, but last night was a chance for me to really have a critical and knowledgeable eye enhance my riding.

Veann made it to our lesson with police escort - the flashing lights of the cop car let me know she had arrived. She'd been lost for about half an hour trying to navigate her way around the construction blocking Durham Rd 1 just north of Harrison Drive. She luckily found a nearby cop who kindly drove her right to the farm!

I rode back to back lessons to make the most use of Veann's time. First up was Thetis. I rode in my close contact saddle and we started with dressage fundamentals. Veann reinforced learning the inside leg to outside hand connection - I have a tendency to always want to use an inside indirect rein, and Veann helped me to focus on using my inside leg more.

We then worked on building impulsion and adding more 'swing' to our gaits by moving forward and then collecting back. The next part was what I was most looking forward to - Veann taught me a detailed lesson on shoulder in and haunches in. I had the basic idea of what and how to do it, but I was never really sure when I had it exactly. To my surprise, the correct movement isn't as much of a bend in the horse as I thought - I had been asking Thetis to bring her shoulders in too much - this was really helpful to have someone watching to tell me when Thetis was traveling on the three tracks. Getting a mirror in the ring would help too because then I could watch myself as I come down the wall.

This was really nice for me to get a chance to be precise in my riding with something relatively new. We then finished with some jumping which Thetis really enjoys - and so do I! We did some bounces and a tight roll back. We practiced making our turns using the outside rein, and for my position I practiced sitting deep with straighter wrists and keeping my elbows at my sides.

Thetis was excellent - next up was Phin. I rode Phin in my dressage saddle - I hadn't used it for nearly a year! It really makes a huge difference and I can sit the trot much better in it. Phin was amazing and we practiced the same exercises as with Thetis, but this time I had a different horse and could work on getting the feel for the movements. Phin was easier to push with my inside leg to my outside hand - both horses were easier to the right, so I know I need to work on my left.

Phin really gave me some beautiful trots when I transition down from canter, and at first he wasn't very 'pliable' in the canter - he moved forward well, but then was harder to collect again... after a few laps of practice he was doing much better and we made a few excellent transitions.

Riding two horses back to back with the same lesson was really helpful - horses can feel and act so differently, so practicing on two different horses gave me an even better understanding of what and how to do the movements.

We finished up with jumping some bounces (still in my dressage saddle!) which rounded out a fun and education filled night.

It was really nice to get some feedback and focus on my learning needs. I am a strong believer that we never stop learning, and there is always something to learn when it comes to horses. I plan to continue with Vean in lessons monthly to make sure I keep up with my skills and practicing so I can keep progressing. I am also going to be setting up some lessons with 2 star Parelli instructor Todd Owens to help me move forward with my natural horsemanship techniques and progress to getting my Parelli level 3 in all four savvys.

We can always learn more to be even better for our horses - Cheers to lifelong learning :)

1 comment:

  1. Just saw this Lindsey! Had a great night - once I got there!

    Best of luck at your new farm! Looking forward to seeing you again!

    Veann :)