Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dressage for Dummies: On the Aids

After a very consistent year showing first level in 2012, I've been working towards performing a show ready second level test in 2013. I'm not counting the show I attempted last November during a rain storm, as Africa had a mini meltdown due to the cold and wet conditions and was decidedly not into performing. It was really all I could do to keep her in the ring, and our score reflected that.

This used to be exciting; now collected trot is exciting!
Never would have seen that coming!
After several setbacks - including time off in November and December, nonstop rain, a mystery hematoma - we've finally been able to take some lessons with consistency the past month, and I have my sites set on a 2013 second level debut soon. It has been a steep learning curve. After plopping around in a "cute" trot for the past 12 years our so, I've had to really push our comfort zone in obtaining a true collected and medium trot. Getting the impulsion that I need for these gaits has really been challenging, but the pieces are starting to come together and today I got some collected trot work that felt amazing!

While experiencing this trot, I felt like I could push out into a medium trot or down into a walk or even a halt at any moment, with just the slightest cue. Plus, the trot I was in was easy to sit, energetic and I had a very consistent feel in both my reins. Wow! Who knew that I would ever get so excited about trotting around a dressage arena. :)

After listening to me blabber about this for a few moments, my trainer had three simple words to describe my feelings - "on the aids." So, there you have it - my horse was on the aids! What a lovely feeling!

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