I started taking dressage lessons at a local-ish barn a few weeks ago, I've been feeling like I need to get further along in my education before I get on Coriander again and start asking him for more. Fortunately the barn where I test rode an Ansur saddle offers lessons.
For the first three lessons I rode an appaloosa cross, the same horse I did the test ride on. All was going well, I enjoy riding that horse and his trot, I got to try a training level test, I got to feel what it was like to ride 'on the bit.' It was very cool.
For my last lesson though, I rode a different horse. A friesian. A friesian that is much more specially trained than the appy cross.
Now when you imagine riding a friesian you like to think it will go something like this: You are sitting on a magnificent black beast with flowing hair all over the place. You whisper to the horse with your legs and he strides boldly forward, long black mane caressing your face. You merely suggest a direction with the reins and he willingly follows. When you want to canter, all you do is think it and the horse lifts into the smoothest, roundest canter you've ever ridden. It's like riding a shiny, black dream.
It was more like falling to pieces. We were fine until the trainer told me to ride him on the second track and that's the point when the steering went out. You know what that means- the steering was never there to begin with. Plus he was kind of lazy so I had to use a lot of leg, but I didn't keep my leg long like you're supposed to- no, I curled it towards my bum which the horse didn't understand at all. The worst was when she asked me to canter and I.Could.Not.Get.That.Horse.To.Canter. I just fell apart, lost the contact, lost my balance, and curled into the fetal position trying to get the leg aid as he just rushed into a faster and faster trot.
It was horrible and awesome at the same time. Horrible because the ride highlighted everything that is wrong with my riding. Awesome because it laid it all out there in front of the trainer. Here I am, here are my issues, help me learn.
Fortunately the trainer was very nice about it, she said most people who are good riders on lesson horses have this problem. Lesson horses will kindly fill in the gaps for you, the better trained horses won't because of their expanded repertoires- they can't guess what you're asking for because you could be asking for so many things. That's exactly the kind of horse I need to be riding right now, so I can learn finesse and balance and transfer that knowledge to the Quarters.
I feel like Humpty-Dumpty, now I just have to learn to like the feeling of being put back together again.
(no fear- I'll get back to the laminitis posts now)