Rodney’s Dressage Lesson

Breaking out the britches.

I trotted my horse! For the first time in 7 years! Said that way, it’s pitiful. Nevertheless, Rodney and I trotted for the first time since 2010.

I’ve had my eye on the dressage instructor Mr. E for a while. He seemed sympathetic to horse and rider. We (cough Greg cough) decided that now was the time. Even if we weren’t ready, ya gotta start somewhere. If I waited until I was absolutely ready, I’d never have a lesson.

I was expecting more of a consult than a lesson, heavy on the discussion. Instead, Rodney and I moved for 30 minutes. No need for stops to reset his brain, either. Mr. E maintained a steady flow of instruction that kept both horse and rider organized and – as a result – calm. Right now, I doubt I can recreate the conditions on my own. That’s okay. We did it.

Mr. E had me pick up a contact with an exaggerated giving motion to encourage Rodney to stretch his neck. We did a few halts. Mr. E saw something in the halts that made him think a trot transition was not out of the question. I said that when I trot Rodney in hand, he flings his head up and gets tense. Mox nix, I was told. That was in hand.

So we did a few steps of trot. Rodney picked up a quiet trot, shuffled along, then ran out of gas in a few strides. Kaloo! Kalay! We trotted a few more times. Rodney failed to get his knickers in twist. After once around the ring in each direction, we declared victory and stopped.

Mr. E complimented me on being willing to trust him and try the trot – which had NOT been in my lesson plan. Really, it wasn’t so much trust on my part, as ‘Well, you’re the new guy. I’ll give you some rope and see what you do with it.’ Same result, more cynicism.

Afterwards, Rodney’s back was mildly tight, particularly on the right – scar – side. This is something we will have to attend to any time he works.

Rodney was very, very proud of himself.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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