Wellington WITees- An Article for School Journalism

This article includes a few edits from my teacher. The assignment was an article of any kind on any topic. I received a 95/100 on this project. Special thanks to Leah Tenney for answering my questions, and Lendon Gray for offering this amazing program!

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WITees are lucky to be missing this scene! Unknown Artist & Rider

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My First EDAP Clinic (Focusing on the Ride) — DAY TWO

On Day Two of the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program (EDAP) clinic, I was able to find Atara’s “special trot” in our warm-up. The “special trot” is the trot I call that I can easily sit, stop, walk, and canter from, adjust within, and perform any lateral movement. Because I found it so quickly, we were able to work on more stuff in my lesson.

During the warm-up (before my lesson started), I walked her around and let her look at anything she wanted to. My only say was to not run off and to avoid the other horses; the rest was up to her. Once she settled, I took up a contact and asked her to be a little deep, keeping my hands quiet. This helped her pay more attention to my seat, and I made sure I could stop, slow down or speed up from it alone. I also asked her to yield off each of my legs on a medium-sized circle (about 15 meters, maybe a bit smaller). Once she was loose, licking the bit and bending easily off my legs, we went to trot. I looked for the same thing in the trot as I asked for in the walk, with more straight lines. We did lots of bending exercises: leg yield from the track in and to the track, serpentines, and also some halt/rein-back. As Sue Williams once told me in a clinic, I looked for the feeling that the bit was a piece of gum in the horse’s mouth, creating the feeling that she gently chews the bit. I found that this image really helps find a supple connection. Another image I kept in my head was from Tanya, who says to loosen your wrists as if you were ringing a tea bell.

Once Lendon came out, and I had found out special trot, we asked for the canter a couple of times. We were more successful than the first day but decided to leave it at a good place. She said she felt content that I have some new tools to try out, and that practice will mainly help find a good canter. Instead of further pursuing it, we continued various trot lateral work.

We kept Atara’s trot active and attentive while keeping forwardness and control. We did lots of shoulder-in to volte to half-pass, as well as renvers, travers, and transitions within each (while in shoulder-in, trot to walk back to trot). We also performed my first half-pass zig-zag, which went pretty well. Lendon talked about the importance of setting up the changes of bend to the audience. She also explained how a half-pass is simply a diagonal line in travers, or a shoulder-in on a diagonal line (which was funny, because when I first learned how to do a half-pass, Tanya told me to go on a diagonal line, then asked me to do a haunches-in. “Congratulations, you’ve just done your first half-pass,”, she’d said). Lendon also emphasized not to allow the haunches to lead in the half-pass. She said that it was a very sloppy rider mistake, and can easily be avoided.

My First EDAP Clinic (Focusing on the Ride) — DAY ONE

This past Thursday/Friday, at Pineland Farms’ Equestrian Center, I attended and rode in my first (of hopefully many) EDAP clinic with Lendon Gray. It was a fantastic experience to bring Atara somewhere new and to see how we did with a fresh pair of eyes.

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Finding My Seat

This has been, hands-down, the most difficult, drawn-out, confusing, and physically-demanding lesson I have had to learn yet in my riding career. Finding my seat. I have been visiting Natural Fitness  to help with flexibility, strength, and balance training (and have noticed a big difference!!). I had between 2 and 3 months of lunge lessons on Atara this winter, and I am now starting to get what this “seat finding” means…. Because this is such a complicated thing to understand (for me, at least), I decided it would be much easier for both me and you to read it in other people’s words, so here are some sources that I found particularly helpful….

– Horse Listening: How to Arch Your Back, Scoop Your Seat Bones, Unleash the Power

– Your Riding Success TV (via YouTube)

– Stabilize Your Pelvis (via Dressage Today)

– Dressage with Catherine Haddad: Focusing on Where and How to Sit