Lesson diary 2018

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
So I last did a lesson diary back in 2012 (will have to go back and see what I wrote then:oops:) but I've decided the time has come to do it again. I'm not expecting anyone to read it - but I think it would be useful for me to log my thoughts after every lesson and see what progress I've made.
Having spent a couple of years pootling around on my share horse without any lessons I finally decided I needed some regardless of not being able to afford it as me and Flicka (the lovely share mare) were becoming worse every time we rode.
I have been having lessons with a wonderful dressage instructor. Flicka's owner asked her to teach me and I think she is definitely doing it as a favour to her, as I must be one of her most useless students ever! But despite that she is very encouraging and also very specific about what she wants me to do - which I love.
I've been having weekly lessons for a couple of months, and I'm not going to go back over all we've done so far, except to say we have made progress. F is now much straighter, and we've started managing to transitions in and out of canter more or less where I asked and to canter in more or less a straight line down the 3/4 line for the length of the school. I have also become a bit straighter, and a lot less tense!
So to my report of this week's lesson:
It was too short due to me moronically having left the keys to F's cupboard behind and having to go back and fetch them, but we still squeezed in 40 minutes. F was in a lazy mood for the first time in a lesson. My RI told me to bring a whip next time! But we got some decent trot (i think). We focused on speeding up and slowing down the trot within the pace. RI was getting me to kick sharply (or smack her shoulder with the end of the reins which I found difficult to actually do) until she sped up and then to do nothing (ie not nag with the leg) until she was about to slow - then kick again. She was also getting me to slow the trot with my seat. RI kept saying 'do nothing with your leg' when I thought I was doing nothing - showing I obviously don't hold it still enough - need to work on that.
We managed to spiral in from a 20 metre circle to a 10 metre one and out again reasonably easily. F seemed to be doing better at bending correctly (so I could just see her eye some of the time) than is usually the case.
Also did giving and retaking the rein in trot and trotting on a long rein. With the latter F was tending to cut in, I think because I was tending to lean in. I have to really concentrate on putting weight into my outside stirrup to stop me motorbiking.
Okay that is it for the first instalment...
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Okay, report two while it is still fresh in my mind....
Today was a hard lesson. Maybe because I'm feeling a bit knackered and tense anyway. But also because there was someone else riding in the arena on her fiery gelding! She is a very good rider and there was absolutely no reason for me to worry about it, but it made me tense.
Also - as predicted RI got me to hold a short crop. In walk that was fine. She went from slow to respond to my leg to responding to the slightest squeeze after one little tap with it. But in trot she was really rushing and I felt that was because of the crop. Objectively I know it was because of me being tense worrying about the crop :oops:...
Anyhow, I was allowed to get rid of it. We worked on a figure of eight over poles on the ground. First walking, then just trotting over the pole and back to walk and then trotting over them all. On the left rein I had to try and consciously 'lengthen my right leg' to put more weight on that side - I think I have a tendency to put more weight into the leg I'm using :oops:.
Then we did cantering between two poles down the three quarter line. It was fairly crap but we did it a few times in both directions. Plus points were a) I mostly got her into canter b) I mostly got her back into trot before the end of the school c) we mostly managed to continue trotting more or less large - with varying degrees of cutting in!
I think this is going to be one of those lessons I look back on in a year's time and realise how far I've come!
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Okay lesson three! Another short lesson as RI and I were both late. RI starting on Flicka before I even mounted. Getting her to do something like a turn on the forehand from the ground. F did not enjoy this and RI said she was either trying to run away or resisting through her mouth. But RI kept going until she did it nicely in both ways. I think F maybe as untalented as me - apparently her short neck and legs make things difficult for her.
Anyway, then we did lots of circling - really trying to get her to bend around me leg and not to evade by trying to run out from her outside shoulder. In walk, trot, and then circles in canter. Not great by me or her but better than last week I think. I was also secretly pleased with myself because it was windy and we were at the rattling end of the school and I didn't make a fuss but just got on with it. As a result F only had a couple of little spooks and also got on with it. I know this is a tiny, tiny achievement but I am a complete wuss so it is some progress.
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Thanks Orbvalley. And this week's lesson felt like a little breakthrough. RI got me to do quarters in at trot! I've never done any lateral move at trot - walk has been our limit. At first I was letting Flicks escape on the inside and RI said 'sit up more and keep your elbow by your side - so you are controlling her' and it worked! I won't exaggerate - it worked slightly for a few steps - but I sort of 'got the feeling'. Then for the rest of the lesson RI focussed on me keeping that more upright but not stiff feeling in trot - and then we tried it in canter. And I managed to keep F in canter, but in control, and going around the outside of the school in both directions. I know I was still bouncing but I did feel my bum was much more connected to the saddle and - as a result - F was listening to me. It wasn't totally straightforward, she got strong after cantering one way, and I got tense, but after a few minutes of trotting circles and over poles we both chilled enough to manage the other way.
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
This week we did lots of work in walk, trying to get Flicks to flex her neck to one side while walking straight. We both found it remarkably difficult! But it got a bit better when I started to grasp that I should encourage her to one side by opening my hand a bit and squeezing and that if it didn't work I should stop and try again. I have a terrible ingrained habit of pulling rather than squeezing, then she pulls back and we both get in a big knot!!
Anyway then onto canter - all a bit messy but we did manage to canter twenty metre circles in both directions at both ends of the school...
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Today was another short lesson with me having to rush back to work. Someone had laid poles out around the whole edge of the arena so as to make a clear 'outside track' which RI decided to make use of. Overall I was frustrated with myself because I got my knickers in a bit of a twist! But before that there was some good stuff we did speeding up and slowing down the pace in trot and then cantering for a couple of letters, coming back to trot and cantering again. The good things were that I managed that repeatedly, and managed to canter large around corners without her cutting in. On the downside when we were asked to keep cantering F got stronger and I tried to bring her back to trot (a bit pathetically) failed and then froze and let her cut in. After that I was tense and she was strong! Still I did manage to slow her pace within trot several times but I didn't want to try canter again! Never mind I'll try again next week!
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Today was better. Some attempts at shoulder in which were not good but maybe a bit better than previously. And some canter in forward seat and then sitting to it - in both directions large (ish she did cut in a little) and she stayed calm and I felt in control. So hurrah!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Well in the spirit of honesty which @Bodshi admired - today was a crap lesson! Last night a good friend of mine rode at the same time as me. The plan was a quiet walk for her mare - who is very slowly recovering from a serious tendon injury - unfortunately her mare had other ideas and thought bucking, leaping and twisting like a loon was a much better plan. My poor friend went splat - nothing broken but thoroughly bashed and bruised. Flick's was a good girl really - only getting mildly agitated in the face of her friend galloping out of control round the school! But I think the whole thing must have got into my brain because today I was a tense wuss. Undoubtedly the fact that Flicks was reluctant and heavy in my hands flowed from being a twit! But never mind - we did endless spirals in trot - circling in from 20 to 10 metres and then trying to leg yield out. I will be less of a pillock next week...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bodshi

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
For the first time I didn't write up my lesson straight after. 36 hours later and it is already a bit hazy. But my RI rode Flicka for the first 15 minutes and she made a big difference. F was much softer - forward going but not rushing - by the end. We tried working on sitting trot and canter without bouncing. I've got a way to go! Apparently I need to open up my hips and thighs more... My homework is to practise sitting trot. Onwards and upwards to less bouncing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
54,803
15,741
113
52
On an island
Let us know if you master the less bouncing ! I've read countless articles and practised for ages when madam was ridden but not once got that feeling that you are meant to in sitting trot. Hopefully you will "get it":)
 
  • Like
Reactions: sophie33

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
:D:D:D That is my mood today. At the weekend we had my riding stables little dressage competition. It is very low key, and the woman who was judging is very generous! And we were only doing 2 intro tests. BUT for the first time EVER in a dressage competition I did not get 'rider needs to correct her position', 'rider needs to deepen her seat' 'sit back' 'hips before tits' and the many other variants I've had in the last couple of years!! Instead I got 8s on both tests for rider position and 8 on one and 7 on the other for rider effectiveness. And - F was a good girl and - at least on the first test we were pretty good!! (On the second she was more unsettled, I took a complete wrong turning at one point, and she tripped at another, when I gave the reins she sped up drastically etc!)
So I went to my lesson in a good mood. RI had me ride the whole lesson with a crop across my hands to force me to keep them level. it definitely works. Also with a longer rein and looser contact. It was all on a 20 metre circle and we had our best canters on a circle yet, including giving and retaking reins. I'm still bouncing though! But... there was one moment when I consciously opened my knee and thigh and my arse began to stay in the saddle!! Then it past... Still definitely, definitely progress :D
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
54,803
15,741
113
52
On an island
:D:D:D That is my mood today. At the weekend we had my riding stables little dressage competition. It is very low key, and the woman who was judging is very generous! And we were only doing 2 intro tests. BUT for the first time EVER in a dressage competition I did not get 'rider needs to correct her position', 'rider needs to deepen her seat' 'sit back' 'hips before tits' and the many other variants I've had in the last couple of years!! Instead I got 8s on both tests for rider position and 8 on one and 7 on the other for rider effectiveness. And - F was a good girl and - at least on the first test we were pretty good!! (On the second she was more unsettled, I took a complete wrong turning at one point, and she tripped at another, when I gave the reins she sped up drastically etc!)
So I went to my lesson in a good mood. RI had me ride the whole lesson with a crop across my hands to force me to keep them level. it definitely works. Also with a longer rein and looser contact. It was all on a 20 metre circle and we had our best canters on a circle yet, including giving and retaking reins. I'm still bouncing though! But... there was one moment when I consciously opened my knee and thigh and my arse began to stay in the saddle!! Then it past... Still definitely, definitely progress :D


I can feel your happiness:D
 
  • Like
Reactions: sophie33

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
What goes up - also comes down - with a bump!! :D Today I concentrated very hard on relaxing me thighs and knees while cantering. Unfortunately I relaxed so much that I failed to communicate to Flicka that we were meant to be on a 20 metre circle - so she headed off down the long side of the school and I landed in a heap! Honestly what a pillock!! It is very annoying because I actually felt the canter was going quite well until I fell. And I had no idea what had gone wrong until my RI explained.... never mind - I can tell that my hip and shoulder are a bit bruised but nothing a hot bath and some arnica won't fix - mostly my pride that is injured. So next week working on deepening my seat on the lung :rolleyes:
 
  • Like
Reactions: orbvalley

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
54,803
15,741
113
52
On an island
What goes up - also comes down - with a bump!! :D Today I concentrated very hard on relaxing me thighs and knees while cantering. Unfortunately I relaxed so much that I failed to communicate to Flicka that we were meant to be on a 20 metre circle - so she headed off down the long side of the school and I landed in a heap! Honestly what a pillock!! It is very annoying because I actually felt the canter was going quite well until I fell. And I had no idea what had gone wrong until my RI explained.... never mind - I can tell that my hip and shoulder are a bit bruised but nothing a hot bath and some arnica won't fix - mostly my pride that is injured. So next week working on deepening my seat on the lung :rolleyes:

Ouchy! Glad you are okay. So there can be such a thing as too relaxed cantering:p:)
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
So there can be such a thing as too relaxed cantering:p:)
I know! Who knew!! I was feeling so proud of myself and then I flew through the air!! Ah well - maybe I'll get the hang of this before I get too old to get on a horse...
I'm back in work now but having to find excuses to walk around the office every 20 minutes so I don't tighten up completely!!
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
So - due to still being sore from last week's laughable fall - today was a very gentle lesson. But Flicka was a good, good girl. She was slow off my leg so RI gave me a short whip - I didn't want to take it - but womaned up and then didn't have to use it all - Flicks went off my leg very well, but without rushing. Then the whip got returned to its normal spot - across my hands to make me hold them level!! And we did figures of eight - with F working nicely with little effort from me. Finally it was a bit of sitting trot without stirrups on the lunge. I called a half after a few circuits because it was making my sore side sorer! BUT - despite that I was definitely managing to sit more deeply than last time I tried. So I'm quite looking forward to next week - when I'm mended (fingers crossed).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
Unfortunately because it was windy and rainy and the noise is SO loud in the indoor school I was a bit tense which is mad because F was fine, but hey ho that is my stupid brain! Also it was also my first lesson for two weeks - because I definitely was not mended by last Monday so cancelled lesson. Once I got on lunge it was a good lesson though - lots of sitting trot without stirrups or reins and a couple of bits of canter (all on lunge). I felt like I was getting somewhere with the sitting trot, and the second canter was better than the first. I felt F offering me canter, and went yes please, so the transition was lovely even if I didn't keep it up. My RI was pleased because - for the first time she'd ever witnessed - my bum stayed in the saddle! Now my hip is aching a bit from the over-exertion but given my last tiny lessonette left me in agony I'm pleased that I'm on the mend.
 
Last edited:
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
chev My lesson diary 2017... Members Diaries 35
Skib Dressage Lesson Diary Members Diaries 41
L from rodeo lesson student.. my diary goes on, please read and tell what do you think First Timers 0
Jane&Ziggy A curate's egg of a lesson... Training of the Horse and Rider 6
J Having troubles with my lesson horse Training of the Horse and Rider 8
Jane&Ziggy Great lesson with Charlie Training of the Horse and Rider 3
lindsay_314 Nervous about first riding lesson First Timers 16
stigofthedump Can't hear what the riding instructor says in a group lesson Older Riders 16
R Managed to have a riding lesson yesterday First Timers 2
R what have i done expresive private lesson Cafe 7
domane Off-site Lesson Yesterday Cafe 3
R Easy lesson Yesterday First Timers 3
R First riding lesson in 3 mouths tomorrow First Timers 10
domane Riding lesson Cafe 12
R last/2nd last lesson for a while Cafe 7
joosie first driving lesson tomorrow, eek! Cafe 9
domane Riding Lesson Today Cafe 0
R Good lesson today First Timers 10
HaloHoney On a high - jump lesson! Training of the Horse and Rider 5
G lesson today - new instructor - nervous Older Riders 5
Kite_Rider Lesson time Cafe 14
R Can;t book next riidng lesson Cafe 6
R great lesson today First Timers 10
CharliesAngel A successful pole work lesson! Cafe 7
T how much for a lesson on your own horse First Timers 13
Star the Fell Just had a great lesson Cafe 4
Nayumi1 Riding Lesson Tonight First Timers 14
G heading off to another lesson today - love my r.i. Older Riders 3
R being to put the fount in lesson good sign(please not the best lesson today) First Timers 6
G riding lesson today Older Riders 1
Tir Brilliant lesson today! Cafe 3
G Riding lesson today Older Riders 7
R Great lesson yesterday First Timers 4
R diffcult lesson yesterday. First Timers 8
L Eeek! First jumping lesson Cafe 3
sophie33 really good lesson Training of the Horse and Rider 10
domane Great lesson this morning... Training of the Horse and Rider 4
R private lesson for price of a group First Timers 9
P A quick snippet from yesterday's EquiPilates lesson Cafe 5
LyndaB Sixth lesson done..... gradual improvement. Older Riders 2
Calder First jumping lesson Members Diaries 1
R Most tiring lesson I had so far. First Timers 10
HaloHoney Well I had my lunge lesson... Confidence Club 8
Jane&Ziggy Most successful lesson ever Training of the Horse and Rider 6
JMR77 Finally had 1st lesson on Mowgli :) First Timers 7
R What did you do in your first lesson? First Timers 22
T bad lesson First Timers 11
chev So much for today's lesson *better!* Training of the Horse and Rider 16
Cremola Foam Body Balance / equicore lesson Training of the Horse and Rider 7
chev Interesting lesson! And then not such a good one... Training of the Horse and Rider 18

Similar threads

newrider.com