Yesterday, I had my first official Dressage lesson on my own horse. A little background here, I've had my horse for 21 years now. I trained him. So, needless to say, he's had no formal training and he's old (as well as me). I wasn't sure what to expect of him, but he surprised me.
First we worked on guiding and staying on a 4" path. Basically, finding a focal point, and following it. If something grabbed his attention, we changed directions (90 degree turn or less) and found a new focal point. After a couple of these, he was really getting it. First at a walk, then trot. Next we worked on transitions, using the same exercise. Finding a focal point, trot to it, change directions, walk to the next, find the next and trot again. Finally we graduated to a canter. Here is the thing, I rarely can sit his canter, it's so elevated and it throws me from the saddle. I'm sure it has to do with collection and training. Plus he prefers a right lead over the left. I know that most horses do have a preferred side to them, just as humans do. In order to get him to take the correct lead, it takes a lot of preparation and position and throwing my weight. It's certainly something that we need to work on!
In this first lesson, I used my English bridle, but I rode with my Fallis Balanced Ride western saddle. I have an old Wintec English saddle, but I just didn't want to try that with the first lesson. I'm hoping by the end of summer, I can find a decent Dressage saddle for us.
My goal is to ride a Dressage test in a schooling show. I know that I will be a nervous mess, but I am sure I will enjoy it. I was nervous about this riding lesson!