Half-passing towards Le Dressage!
My 300th post! And I’m so happy to have exciting news to fill it up with!
I had a really brilliant lesson with Aero this morning. Alexandrine asked what I wanted to do, in-hand work or riding and I said “Ride!” Aero has been feeling good recently, but I haven’t videoed him for ages so I have no idea what we look like and I really wanted an eyes-on-the-ground opinion.
I explained to Alexandrine that it’s best for him to warm up in walk for a good bit, and that I usually do plenty of leg-yielding as part of his warm-up. We discussed a problem I’ve been having with him, too. When I keep my hands in this new-fangled high position she insists on (more correct. peh! what’s wrong with having your hands in your groin, that’s what I want to know!) Aero unfailingly comes above the bit every time we go from halt to walk. Persist, she said. Just keep keep the contact, even if you have to raise your hands higher to do so, keep your leg on and he’ll figure it out. And, do you know, during the course of the lesson, he improved.
Anyway, we proceeded to do our normal walk warm-up and she helped me improve the angle of the leg-yield on both reins. Then we picked up trot. His trot was super! Round, forward and bouncy – I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to sit to it! Once we had trotted a little on each rein, we went back to leg-yielding, in trot this time. The left rein was ok, then we switched to the right rein and found that he was leading with his quarters. So we tried to fix that and then found I was losing the bend; improved that a bit and then she said he wasn’t bringing his left hind over enough. “Try it in half-pass” she suggested. (That’s appuyer in French)
So I carefully rode a demi-volte at the corner and asked Aero to move to the right and stay bent to the right and voilá! My first ever half-pass! For three strides, before I lost the bend, but it was a start! Next time, he offered pirouette – no, Aero, that’s not what I’m looking for!! We worked on it a couple of times and I really got the hang of it (Aero got the hang of it years ago) and then tried it on the left rein. His easy side, obviously, it was perfect first time. Well, not a dressage TEN perfect, but it was a bloody half-pass, right?
We went back to leg-yielding in trot again, just to prove that I am finally developing some sort of feel for where his butt is in relation to his shoulders. Perfect. Time to finish, I said, even if we haven’t done a full hour. He’s been great. Alexandrine agreed, and then added, thoughtfully “There’s a dressage competition in Manosque on the 1st if you’d like to go.”
EEK! Yes I’d like to go… I’d like to bring Flurry, I quickly added, for my own peace of mind… but what about my FFE licence?
“Oh, we’d better sort that out straight away, I’ll do it today,” she said.
I thought of another problem, of course. My trailer is still uninsured and unregistered. Could she take me in the truck?
“Yes! I’m just taking the two little ponies, there’s room for Aero.”
Um no, not Aero, Flurry…
I’m pretty sure she thinks that Aero could do quite well. And I agree – if he went like he did today, he would do well anywhere, but it would be my first time ever competing him. One “first” at a time is enough for me, so I’d rather do my first French dressage competition on my little stalwart, Flurry. I’m going to be nervous enough as it is!
On that note, does anyone know what’s the French for “I’m sh*tting myself”?
While you ponder on that, I’m off to print out the layout of a 20×60 arena and the FFE Club 3 Grand Prix Reprise. And before anyone gets excited, it’s like Prelim level, it’s not a Grand Prix in this sense of the word :
But I can dream…