Thursday, 15 April 2010

Our first dressage lesson with Jackie Bevan

Being as I dont 'do' dressage and much prefer to leap over random wooden poles this was rather exciting mixed with a bit of apprehension as to whether we would be good enough or just show ourselves up.
This was the first lesson so it was a bit of a get to know each other and finding out what works with William and myself. I had already explained I wanted to put some extra hard work into the flat to help with our jumping rather than trying to become the next dressage superstar.
So off I trot with our black boots and pelham with double reins ( I did take my snaffle just incase ) all ready to be frowned upon but no, what a lovely lady she is. I explained the problems I had had with bitting and she said stay with what he is comfortable in and lets see how he goes.
She very quickly picked up on Williams tension issues and said he had a lovely flowing free walk but when I collect him he walks laterally which I never knew so if I was ever to attempt this stressage lark I would need to have the collected walk very slightly longer than normal.
We worked a lot in trot, more than I normally do at home, and really worked on keeping the power. I have a habit of William offering it to me and then I sort of go "Ahh thats enough" and back off or I feel the tension creep in and I back off and calm it down and keep it simple before I push him over the edge but she worked on me keeping power power power and not being afraid to ask for things. I have to be a bit stronger and more "good boy well done" and " no not acceptable, behave, get over it". It all felt a bit strange at first and a lot more forward than I am used to but towards the end when I had got used to the feeling it was superb. I have to try and soften his neck a bit and she wants me to work on the flex left, flex right, flex left, flex right and straighten. A bit like the pro SJumpers do when they go in the ring.
The canter she liked a lot but again I have to soften that neck. At times down the long side he was strong but she worked on outside flexion and hey presto, he was back with me. Also shoulder in, in canter. She actually called it something else but I can't remember what it is called . William found this remarkably easy but a wonderful exercise for us. We also worked on cantering down the 3/4 line. Easier said than done, that was wiggly lol.
The main problem with Will is that he is a gobby little sod (her words) at times and this lets us down. He won't tolerate a flash and a drop isn't much different and I weighed up the pros and cons and decided it was best to let him open his mouth but we are going to work on this and have a play with different bits and nosebands and see what works and what doesn't. She wants me to try a double for now just to see how he is, as he was previously jumped in one in Belgium. Her sister was there watching (No pressure then) and she is very kindly going to lend me one so I look forward to trying this out.

The end comments were, he was a lovely horse with good power and lovely paces and she wishes she had found him as a 4yr old (shame he is 14 now) and if we can sort the gobby front end out there is no reason why he can't go and do some dressage if we ever feel the need. She also said I was a nice rider with a good position who she could tell worked hard and was focused and I was a pleasure to teach so that was lovely to hear.

I had a fab lesson especially for the first one and I will be working hard for now on what we learnt in todays lesson so after I have saved my pennies again I will be ready for the next one and I am really looking forward to it.

I am now the proud owner of achey inner thighs and a right butt cheek lol