How To Retain (Or Developing Feel)

After a clinic retaining the information I learned is always the most difficult part. Yes, I rode like that with eyes on me and it worked, but that was with someone who was able to tell me what to do, when to do it, and why I want to do it. Then the next ride is where you take what you learned, put it into practice, and advance on what you learned. In theory, that is.

I gave Dawn the day off on Sunday, then went up Monday to do what I had learned on Saturday. Let me tell you, it was not at all the ride I pictured. I tried to ride with longer reins, then they were too long, then too short, then I figured that out. The other thing is my saddle likes to push my leg back, so I tried to remember to put it where she had told me to and think about it as often as possible. Then I practiced my transitions like I had in the clinic. I felt like I just was not getting it. I have a feeling my dressage saddle might be fighting me, but that is something I’ll have to worry about in the future, it’s fine for now but does make things challenging.

It did not feel as nice as this looks

The thing is, when you’re alone and working on things by yourself, it’s an excellent time to develop the “feel” of good moments. Could I feel when it was quality? Yes. Could I feel when I needed to make adjustments? Yes. That’s half the battle- learning what feels right, not comfortable, during the learning period. I may not be comfortable with a longer rein, pushing my legs a bit more forward so they stay under me, and anything that comes from those adjustments, but I feel the difference and feel the quality of the gait change, and that’s what’s important.

Tuesday was another day off for her, so I rode today. I woke up in a PANIC about show season. Which is still many months away. I just feel so unprepared, not only do I feel like my dressage needs some serious work, but I haven’t done much jumping at all lately. Thankfully I have a great friend who talked me off the ledge, and when I rode today I decided to jump. Which is a little tricky right now because the arena has begun to flood.


*sigh* why?!

There’s one long side that is flood free, so I set up just a small crossrail in the middle and popped over it a few times. Dawn is very keen to the fences, but has a hard time realzing I can be of help to her. So today the exercise was jump the fence, then halt by the end of the arena. From jump to end it’s about 3-4 Dawn strides, so not much time to think. By the last jump we had it, so quit on that. I jump her in an eggbutt lozenge snaffle, and I might need to rethink that, but we’ll wait and see.

It felt SO good to pop over a fence, and both her and I found confident doing it, even when we struggled to find our distance. Fact is though, we were both comitted to going over and that’s so important.

My plan now during this thaw will be to jump 2x a week, pole work 1x a week, and 2-3x a week of dressage. Then it’ll change when we can add in some hacking and other fun outdoor things.


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