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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Joy of Dressage

Dressage really is joyful sometimes. The weekly schedule changed a bit again because tomorrow (and tonight, really) a Moste Miserable cold front is coming through and it's supposed to be like, -10 for the next several days. My sister in VT said it was -27 there... holy crap. So my schedule changed to this: Dressage Monday-Wednesday, Thursday is a small question mark (maybe lunge in the chambon?), and Friday and Saturday will probably be off. Because -10 degrees is actually physically not good for anyone's lungs, and besides that, it's just really damn cold and I have to draw the line somewhere! The horse's respiratory system thankfully starts a loooong way from where it ends, so that air has lots of room to warm up in the blood-filled cavities in the head all the way down to the well-insulated trachea, but us humans aren't quite so lucky. That kind of cold burns.

Monday and Tuesday, Gogo was so-so. Monday night, due to an inconsiderate client changing all our schedules to make room for her (and then she cancelled like 15 minutes before she was supposed to get there, ughhhh!!!), I had to ride at night when it was dark and cold and dinnertime, and neither of us really wanted to do it. We did manage some slightly tense leg yields, lengthenings, 10m circles, shoulder-in, transitions, etc. We also ran through First 1, and it was okay. I think I forgot what the walk part was supposed to be... lol. Tuesday she was, again, a bit tense and I don't think she ever really quite relaxed all the way. We had some GREAT canterwork by the end though. I found a huge gaping hole in our First Level tests though - when you are finishing with your canter work, usually you're coming across the diagonal and you transition to trot over X. Well, Gogo like to come out of the corner and go WHEEEEEEEEEE! and either try to shoot sideways in her own version of counter canter (which I think she thinks we're schooling), or she preps herself for a flying change. So we spent a bit of time focusing on waiting and straightness, as well as making a smooth transition. She figured it out pretty quickly, thankfully!

And today, we had a lesson instead of our typical lunge day, due to the extreme cold coming in and Vicki deciding ahead of time to not teach for the next few days. She was excellent today!! We didn't do as many fancy things as I had wanted, but we did get some AWESOME lengthenings in, a few nice shoulder-ins, some great leg yields, some passable shallow loops in counter-canter, and a fabulous stretch at the end of it all. At this point, it's way more important to me to have relaxation and looseness above all else, so even if we're not always schooling the things I want to school, I know she's working correctly and putting on the right kinds of muscle, which will make everything else progress faster and more smoothly in the long run. She's working more correctly now than she ever has, and I like where this is going. Her topline also looks way, way better than I think it ever has... which is saying something, because she didn't earn the nickname "The Ewe-Necked Wonder" for nothing. Some combo of good nutrition and proper training is actually working for once in our lives... yesssssss.

When Gogo is on, she is on. She reahes out and she takes my contact, and we hold each other there in trust and relaxation. Through our gentle handshake, I can ask her to compress or lenthen her body, and she responds. Her body becomes malleable and suppple, and bends however I ask it to, of her own accord. She flows smoothly from one movement to the next, without resistance or tension. I can think of my next movement, and she is already there on the same page with me. We become as one being, she and I, when we connect in this way. It feels so lovely and balanced and smooth and light and supple, and it fills me with delight and enthusiasm whenever we have a workout like this.. which lately, has been the norm.

Oh dressage, you are wonderful.

Tomorrow.... maybe a lunge, maybe not, depending on how freaking freezing it is. Brrrr.....

1 comment:

Funder said...

Ohh, your dressage work sounds wonderful. :) And I suppose if it's eleventy-billion below zero you can call off the lessons for a few days!