Every month, my dressage Trainer B, travels up from his farm in VA to give lessons to a couple different riders and farms in our area. If my schedule allows, I always try to do the two lessons (one Saturday and one Sunday) when he is here. The amount he has been able to help me progress Montego is crazy in such a short amount of time. I always leave each lesson with usually a huge smile on my face and so much that I have learned.
While Montego is my main dressage horse, he is usually the lucky one to attend these weekend lessons. However, I had scheduled to have his hocks and stifles done the Friday before Trainer B was coming up. So this month Luna was the lucky lady of the lessons. Trainer B has years of experience training and breaking babies, so I have wanted to get Luna in front of him to see her progress. The last time he saw her, he did a lunge lesson at our farm in December, so its been a little while. The farm we take these lessons at is about 15min down the road at a beautiful facility with the most gorgeous indoor arena.
When I brought Luna home from the TB barn down the road, I commented on how easy she was to get on and off the trailer. With this in the back of my head, I assumed that she would have no issues trailering this weekend to a new property for a lesson…but boy was I wrong. Early Saturday morning, I got to the barn to get her boots on and trailer loaded for the lesson. Headed up to the trailer and she loaded right up, but before my friend could get the butt bar up she FLEW back out of the trailer. She proceeded to do that one more time before deciding she did NOT want to be going on a trailer ride today. It finally took 1 hour for us to get her loaded, trailer was completely deconstructed to be just one big box stall and we were heading to the lesson very very late. Trainer B was very understanding and we just worked on some ground work for the remaining 10 min of my lesson time to practice some trailer loading skills on the ground. Of course when it was time for her to load back up again, she did it no issues. She always likes to show off with NO problems in front of my Trainer.
Sunday morning, we started the trailer loading process much earlier with some tricks we learned from the day before. Still had some hesitancy getting on but what took an hour the day before took only about 15 minutes this time around (still with the trailer being deconstructed into a big box stall. Got to our lesson about 30 min before my ride time so it was perfect to let her walk around and cool off from the trailer ride before tacking her up and riding.
I will say I was very impressed for her first off property weekend how she was able to really relax and chill in a new place without any friends. No calling or excessive anxiousness. There were some vultures running across the roof of the indoor, which understandably might freak a 5yo baby out, but she was able to come back and have a sane brain. We just worked on her starting to accept contact in the bridle and getting her gaits a little bit more defined in the Walk and Trot. Trainer B was really impressed by the way she is put together and the amateur friendly brain she has for a 5 yo TB.
Our homework is to continue having a more forward gait (ride with a whip at home) and getting her used to bending in her neck so she can bend through her whole body. I also added on the need to start trailer loading with her so there is no more flying backwards. I’m keeping my trailer at the barn for the next couple of weeks so I can hook it up and practice with her every day so she gets the idea that even if she loads she needs to stand and be patient until we say she can unload.
Overall, a very successful weekend. Montego will be back in the riding schedule today from his hocks and stifles and I am excited to see how he is feeling.
One thought on “July Dressage Lessons”
Oh how I understand trailer loading issues. I went through this with Nay (and before that Batt) when we got the new trailer. He got better, then worse, then better for a while, then decided that he just didn’t have to load because he didn’t want to (but would get on if someone got behind him but it made loading solo impossible). Somehow we got through all of this, picked up a couple of tricks and he’s been self-loading ever since.
The best advice I’ve ever been given has been load like you have nowhere to go. It takes the pressure off. Eventually, loading just becomes a thing you do. Sometimes you load to go places. Sometimes you load just to load.
Anyway, if you ever need an extra hand on the ground, let me know.