It has been an interesting week. I had a lesson with my trainer on Tuesday evening and two lessons with Lex - Friday and Sunday evening.
My trainer asked what I wanted to work on and how things were going. We decided to concentrate on contact and circles. She asked if she could get on Riva and see where she is as far as accepting contact. As I watched her ride, she basically rode Riva that same as Lex does - inside leg and inside hand asking for the contact with steady outside hand and leg. Some stronger taking on the inside when Riva would raise her head, while pushing her forward.
When I got on, we started with the 20 meter circles at walk. I am doing fairly well at establishing and maintaining contact at the walk. I still need practice on the walk to trot transition, but am able to keep the contact most of the time. Once I am in trot is where I need the most help with maintaining contact.
Well, Tuesday's trot circles with contact were a mess. And it got worse as the lesson went instead of better. I did post the one picture just to remind myself to get my elbows back and legs back!
Not an excuse but I was probably pretty frustrated by this picture. No contact going on at this moment in time!
My trainer is great and has helped me with so many things in the time I have been taking lessons from her. She is patient and encouraging. But, I feel she does not instruct me to ride the same as she does. When instructing me on riding with contact, she tells me to give light sutle cues...squeezes on the inside rein, opening and closing my fingers, etc. Does not work with Riva at this point - I know this is what we are working towards, but it takes more than sutle cues right now to get and keep the contact.
So the frustrating part is seeing how she rode Riva and how Lex rides Riva - but her instructing me in a much different way.
Lex was home over the weekend and rode Riva both Friday and Sunday evening, before giving me a lesson also. Her instruction is much different and she does have me use the same techniques as she uses to establish and maintain the contact in Riva.
Instead of drilling circle after circle, Lex had me ride a 20 meter circle to the right, then switch at X to a circle to the left. Then she had me trot down the long side, then a diagonal, maybe the next time move on and off the rail, then do another circle. Lots of changes, keeping Riva's mind occupied, etc.
Walking back to the barn at CAF at the March show, with Lex as my trainer.
It is wonderful to have both trainers helping me with Riva. Lex is learning from one of the best dressage instructors around, 5 days a week of riding under her, and is able to pass this knowledge on to me and Riva. My other trainer has years of riding to her credit, takes lessons herself from the instructor that Lex is working under, and is a licensed dressage judge. She is wonderful with position and biomechanics of horse and rider.
So my challenge is to ride like I know I need to ride Riva while in a lesson with my trainer. I do need to work on circles, but Riva does not handle continuous circles at this point.
As I wrap up this post, that has no conclusion, I know I am blessed to have this as my biggest problem right now in my life. A person who is important to our family is struggling with much larger issues and trying to stay strong for her children. She is in my thoughts and prayers tonight.