This little piece has been sitting on my laptop for three weeks now, but because it’s about some major landmarks in our dressage training, I really want to share it with whoever is interested.
The other day, while I was picking up manure from our turnout, the ponies came up to me. Chicolina stopped right in front of me and Snoopy to my right. They dropped their heads to my level and then just stood there, breathing on my face. We stayed in what I can only describe as an equine group hug for almost ten minutes. It’s those little moments that make my day. But reaching a big life goal is great, too ;)
Snoopy loves to do flying changes. So far we were able to do three three-stride changes on either the diagonals or the centerline. I usually prep him by riding some work pirouettes and single changes in a serpentine (when crossing centerline). The original plan was to maybe, hopefully start two stride changes around Christmas. Then in one of our sessions last week, his three stride changes were phenomenal. Balanced, collected, and on the mark. I decided to just go for it and try two strides.
The most important lesson that day: I need to act faster. A lot faster. Because I am such a Klutz, we aren’t yet able to do two strides right away (three weeks later: we are now able to do three in a row). Instead, I rode first change-three strides-second change-two strides-third change. I tried twice, and both times it went that way. I am still thrilled, because it is the second to last milestone in our training regarding flying changes.
The second breakthrough was with the girlie-girl. Chicolina and I are nowhere near starting to work on flying changes, although I could really use them for jumping. If I am completely honest, I was a little worried that maybe she wasn’t going to be able to do them well simply because she rarely does flying changes when she’s running around in the pasture.
Last Tuesday, I took her out for a hack. The ground had dried off and I let her gallop on a long straight grass track. Out of nowhere, she decided she did no longer want to lead with her right and she simply changed lead. Just like that. And it was a really good change. United, collected, and it came really easy to her. I was so relieved. We still won’t start to do them in dressage yet, but now I know she is able to do them, and do them well.