Danny and I were only able to ride twice so far this week, but both rides were awesome! I had my lesson with Cindy on Tuesday and then my lesson today with Kelly. We flatted both lessons because... well, because dressage is fun. :)
It's so nice to be able to ride with both coaches. They are both so amazing and wonderful in different ways and I get so much from both of them. And they work well together too. Cindy is very methodical and slowly progressive and focuses on me and my body in an effort to help Dan. She gets my brain and can teach me in ways I can react. Kelly is the same but different. With Kelly, we focus on one particular thing and pick through it and focus on it and she also gets my brain. It's just pretty awesome to put the two together.
And this week was especially funny because we're all on the same page. We're all working on getting Danny to sit more and engage that hind end. And within reason.. we're not expecting him to do piaffe and passage tomorrow, BUT.... he can start to hint at it. It's funny how both Kelly and Cindy went there, in slightly different ways and slightly different wording, but they both went there.
And Dan.... wow! He stepped up to the plate. And I did too a little bit. I'm actually starting to become more body aware and while it's still a hot mess, I'm actually able to move my body in the proper direction more and more now.
In my lesson with Cindy we worked on half steps. Danny and I did a little bit of forward and back within the gaits and worked on sitting, all while keeping our usual stuff in mind too. Cindy mentioned that she was super proud of my right leg! It's not perfect, far from it, but it's making progress! YAY!!!! We got some really nice work out of Dan and he felt pretty freakin' nice!
So then today in my lesson with Kelly, she said that by asking him to "piaffe" and "passage" in the teeniest whiff of them, we'll teach Dan to sit and push and help build those muscles. He's not going to be expected to passage and piaffe in 6 months even, but we can start hinting at it. And she also said that this will help build his butt as well as gymnastics and grids and will also improve his jumping. :) yay! So today we worked on me "slouching" so that my back isn't so rigid. Of course.... it's me! I either do it completely backwards or I overdo it so much that I screw it all up. And somehow, by Kelly telling me to slouch, I was able to soften my pelvis enough to roll back a hair and get the proper seat alignment and keep my shoulders up and back. Then I could adjust my timing and help encourage Dan to sit and wait and push! We half halted and pushed in the right ratio to really get some push and lift. It was AWESOME!! Danny really felt so fancy and upper level. :) (Although I have to laugh because I'm like "dang... he feels like he's ready for 3rd level!" and Kelly is like "so that's your perfect training level frame". Doh!). But he felt really really good. And he got that slow sit and push trot and canter. :) Eeeeekkks!!!
Today he felt really even in both reins too and more respectful of my right leg. (Although we still had to do some reminding). And he was much more forward and hot to the aids. I didn't have to do as much reminding. :) We got a really nice trot, then half halted and sat and slowed the post and got a really nice collected (or more collected) trot. Then Kelly said to slowly allow him to inch more forward and we got this lovely swinging through the back trot!! Yes!! We did the same with the canter and got some lovely canters too. We also worked on our canter to walks to canters. I need to NOT throw my body or hands at him. (Cindy catches that too!). And he's stronger on the right lead, but we eventually got the left lead too. The aids are outside leg (stick if needed), swoop the inside seat bone and inside leg. All while keeping my upper body back and my steady connection in the bridle. We got some really upward leaps into the canter though.
So much fun!
After all our fancy prancing hard work, we deserved a little break. I put the bareback pad on him and we headed to the lake for a little splashing!! We had fun.
Hopefully Saturday we can do some fitness and hill work and gallop if he wants and then a nice trail ride with Kelli. Then on Sunday I'll do some jumping with Beth. :)