For Lesson # 2 with Brian Tweed [Steady On, first lesson], I deliberately chose not to go back to the place Rodney knew. Instead we went to a new place, Inanda Stables at Shoal Creek. If Rodney is going to be a show horse, he needs to learn to ship in and work at strange places. We can’t spend weeks repeatedly acclimating to every showgrounds. If it was as problem, that would become part of the lesson.
I had a mini meltdown when I saw the ring. Not in the indoor dressage ring, as I thought, see photo. Instead we were in the jump ring. No fence around the ring and riding past jump standards, neither of which are on Rodney’s list of happy-making activities.
I was steadied by the thought that if loaded up and went home right then, if I never got on, we were still farther ahead than I thought we would ever get. We shipped somewhere. We set up a lesson. Both victories.
Of course, it went better than I thought it would. Partly because things generally do. Partly, while the ring did not have a fence, it was within a small paddock that did. That kinda counted. Partly, we are learning to manage Rodney. He walked around in hand. He walked around tacked up and in-hand. He stood. He walked around under saddle. Partly, Coach Brian has a hard-working but low-key approach.
I wasn’t completely ready to trot when the lesson started. Fortunately, we began at a walk. Okay, I’m ready to do that. The exercises were challenging enough to get Rodney thinking but easy enough that he felt capable. “This is hard. I want to be upset, but we are walking slowly on long rein.” Simple, quiet exercises helped the rider feel successful as well.
Small, bendy circles and turns to get his neck and back limber.
Turn on the forehand
Turn on the haunches
Do any of the above, then trot a circle, then go back
We cantered, but not enough to speak of. Rodney was actually a little pissy at the second canter fragment, the way he used to be about the second trot [Evil Twin]. Truthfully, he was a little bit of a pill the entire time. Do you really need to monitor every car that goes up the driveway? Did someone elect you traffic warden when I wasn’t looking? It is nice to know that we can still do good work even when everything is not perfect.
Thank you for reading,