Saturday, 18 July 2015
[Lesson] Leanne Jackson 18.07.15
I took Pea to a nearby venue today for another lesson (poor guy, two in a row now!) with a dressage rider - Leanne Jackson. We had a bit of a nightmare trying to load him, including him breaking my lunge line, and I was about to call to say we wouldn't be going when he finally decided that actually, maybe he would like to go on an adventure! Luckily, Sissons Farm is only about 20 minutes from us and Laura, the organiser, told us that she was going to have a 10-15 minute break anyway so no need to rush.
I gave him a walk round so he could get used to the venue and a quick trot before heading into the arena for our lesson. I explained to Leanne a bit about us and how he's a bit stiff and tense so she watched us trot round and noticed that he is really tight in his shoulders but that he also doesn't like to work properly through his hocks. She bought us onto a 20m circle to help encourage him to use his hind end a bit more and also told me to keep a hold of my outside rein. She noticed that I tended to release the outside rein a bit and it's quite a common thing as apparently she'd been telling no end of people to hold it and said she even does it at times as well!
Leanne also explained that going round corners, I slightly crossed my reins and kind of rode like a bike as in both my reins would go in the same direction when turning. In doing this, she said I was asking for bend but not getting it because there was no where for Pea to actually go as I didn't have hold of the contact. She also told me to open my reins up slightly to give him a more stable contact to go into. A good analogy that she used is to compare it like a tripod - when the legs are kept close together, there's no stability. However, open two of the legs slightly wider and it's a lot more stable.
We also did some leg-yeild which is a really good exercise in getting him to loosen his spine. It also ensured that I held onto my outside rein! For the first 10-15 minutes of the lesson Pea was throwing his head around like a crazy fool but Leanne told me that that's when I really need to keep hold of the reins and just put my leg on to encourage him into the contact. Him throwing his head around is just his way of saying 'I don't like that, let go!'. Towards the end of the lesson he was a lot better at accepting the contact though he was still rather heavy in my hand. However, that is just because it's something new and hopefully after a few more sessions he'll start to lighten up.
Overall it was a really good clinic and I'm so glad I managed to squeeze in a last minute place! I'm definitely thinking of going to some more that she holds and hopefully I'll start to see a lot more progress with Pea's way of going over the next few weeks!
Thanks for reading,