Firstly, apologies for such a long silence – I went away to Spain last week, and it’s been tough getting used to this weather again. Guess winter really is here now!
So, as I mentioned in my last post, we were taking Rodney to his first away-from-home-ridden-party, at a small eventing yard, about 45 minutes from us. He loaded fine, and travelled well (minus 5 minutes of leg scraping, not being entirely sure how to stand up, and being unable to eat his haynet, as usual). We went along with J and her new horse, so S didn’t have her hands full with trying to ride Malibu, while helping me with Rodney.
Once we arrived, Rodney turned into a devil pony. He carted S up and around the yard, dragging her wherever he fancied, and generally forgetting everything he’s learnt about walking nicely and standing still. However, between her and J, they managed to wrestle the bridle and saddle on, while I contemplated throwing up in the bushes/passing out/driving the lorry home alone.
I went over to speak to Simon, as I’ve never had a lesson with him, while S took Rodney for a walk around the school. He was tense (and so was I), and decided that many, many things were scary. At one point, I was chatting with the yard owner, when her eyebrows shot up, and exclaimed “OH, he’s a spirited one.” I continued standing with my back to him, and pretended I hadn’t heard her.
After five minutes of looping the school, Simon decided we were ready to start. S legged me up, and I started on our figures of eight (my never fail exercise when we’re both scared). He relaxed pretty quickly, and so did I (somehow), and we went on to have the best 40 minutes.
Simon is an incredible instructor, he does belittle you, confuse you, push you, or speak solely in technical language (I was being told to give legs aids “like a penguin moving its wings”). We had one fairly major spook, but I stayed on, and after that we both settled (I always calm down instantly when he’s got his ‘thing’ out of the way…).
As Rodney reverted to his ‘sorry I can’t possibly move any fast than this’ mood, Simon went and fetched a lunge whip. I almost cried.
Instead, it was brilliant – Simon worked on keeping Rodney moving forward, and I was free to work on my position, Rodney’s position, and just about everything else that I usually can’t, due to asking him to move. We stayed doing fairly basic movements: lots of transitions, circles, and changing the rein, all with a beautifully active movement.
Afterwards, both Simon, and the woman who was running the sessions, commented on how well put together he was, and how he has the potential to go extremely far in dressage. This is something S and I have always thought, but to hear other people (and people who know what they’re talking about!) say it too, was wonderful.
We’ve now got a life goal of hitting Advanced-Medium (and PSG if we can get pirouettes sorted), and my confidence has soared.