|Callie-Super Cute Lipizzaner Mare|
My plan is to take two lessons a month as long as I can have time and I have the dough. I have had two lessons so far and will take one more next week. Tuesdays are the only time they have an appropriate lesson horse free and I work a variable schedule so we are taking it week by week. I am riding Callie a 10 year old Lipizzaner mare. Even if you don't know much about Lippys you can tell she is a quality mare. She was bred previously to the stud on the farm and it had to be a nice baby. The owner of the barn was one of the first people in the united states to breed quality Lipizzaner's back in the early 80s and she always has lovely horses. Currently Callie is a lesson horse to all levels of riders.
I hopped on to warm Callie up and my assessment right away was she was all mare. I tried a little light seat to get her marching with a bit of a result, then gentle leg, mmm not really, then a strong leg and SCREEECH it was like I hit the brakes. Callie was having none of the pushy leg business. Once my lesson started I found out this was one of Callie's quirks. She doesn't want anything that resembled nagging with the leg. You can huff and puff and squeeze all you want and she is just going to get slower.
We picked up the trot and my trainer thought my upper body was much better than I had feared. I knew my lower leg has been tight and overall a hot mess so we went to work on that right away. It turns out that Callie will be the perfect horse for fixing my leg because her response to crappy leg is immediate. Good leg, horse goes, crappy leg BRAKES. One of the things I love best about my trainer is she is very precise, she will tell you exactly what muscle to move as the horse puts which leg on the ground. We started this cool little exercises where you step deeper in the outside heel on the up post two times, then equal on both legs on the third post. Callie really responded to that. It worked with the push of her inside hind and focused more on body weight getting her to move forward than lower leg squeezing.
It has been years since I did serious dressage but for some reason my mind went right into riding mode and I found myself sitting the trot. Callie responds so much better to sitting the trot because I could be more efficient with my seat and leave those lower legs alone. She sluggy posting but sitting she is wonderful. With Callie's reminders I suddenly realized my toes were pointed forward and my legs were loose and OFF her sides. You can do the same stepping exercises from sitting trot but I am so out of practice that it kind of blew my mind to feel when the inside hind was loading to get my timing right. Once again I LOVE MY TRAINER!! She is so great about calling out "Now" if you are trying to get the feel of something like when a certain leg hits the ground.
After I got my legs situated we started working on shoulder fore and shoulder in. It was so fun!! I miss being able to ride like that. At one point I had ridden a few shoulder ins then took her straight and she flew. I wasn't expecting that at all. She was so sluggish at the beginning that I thought I would get half that amount of trot. I had to go posting because I am so very very out of shape. I thought my stomach muscles were going to start spitting flames by the end of a 45 min lesson in mostly sitting trot.
This week we got to focus more on canter. I really need to work on my canter. I have a really right lower back so sitting the trot and being effective in the canter are hard for me. Bre has a very bouncy canter and gets tense when you sit the canter. Then I get tense, my back hurts, and it's all a mess. If you want to feel a horse really compress and sit, canter a Lipizzaner. Even when they are lazing around they are just built to do dressage. Callie's canter can get really lazy and even four beatish but even at her worst she sits more than a WP horse on their spunkiest day. My trainer helped from the ground with a lunge whip to get me a little impulsion but once we got going it really clicked. We worked on a exercises to get her lighter in the canter. I will see if I can explain it:
*Trot on right rein
*Transition to halt a few feet past A
*From halt almost forehand turn on an arc so your left shoulder ends up at F. Keep sideways motion but the hind takes bigger steps and that is what gets you turned the other direction.
*Pick up canter (through trot for us)
Her canter was nice and jumpy after that. We even did a few ten meter circles but at that point I had already spent time in sitting trot and my abdominal muscles were toast. I had a really hard time supporting her on that small circle for long. I will say that I am proud I didn't need as much of a rest this week!! Last week I need a big rest in the middle and wasn't sure my body would cooperate when it was time to get going again.
Looking forward to next week!!!