Thursday, January 19, 2012

In which I expand on random thoughts

I have decided that my dressage lesson yesterday is a living reenactment of Robin Williams' famous treatment on the origins of golf.  His piece starts out with an explanation of how incredibly difficult it is to understand the average Scotsman, and segues into a long winded explanation on the creation of golf.  Mr. Williams expounds at length about hacking away through the gorse, getting so mad "yewl have a stroke".  Wait, that's what we'll call it  - stroke.  And at the end there will be a little white flag - "jes' ta give ya hope." 

I think that is what dressage is.  Hacking away in the underbrush, having strokes and every once in awhile getting a view of that little white flag.  Hope lives!

Driving is all about scribing the arc.  If you can be accurate on a circle you can be a combined driver.

See above - except for the part where you have to REMEMBER everything.  Dresage test, the way to drive through six obstacles, plus alternate routes, and back up plans for the oh shit that ain't gonna work moments and then 20 something sets of orange cones with yellow balls on top of them.  20 something sets of orange cones that look EXACTLY alike.

I walk more doing CDEs than I ever did walking cross country courses. 

One of my favorite lines from any movie - "I am older and have more insurance!"

Trying to help my spouse learn a dressage test is painful. He is also hacking through the underbrush.

I like dance lessons.

I hate that the instant I start on a diet my body goes into survival mode and stubbornly refuses to part with one ounce.

I am very happy my son got the job he was looking for, and more relieved that his father and I won't have to foot the bill for his upcoming trek to Zambia.  Go Team USA!!

My kitty has tortitude.

My pony does not.

Florida in 34 days!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

In which I ponder the necessity for dressage.

Ok.  I admit it.  I think dressage is really a four letter word.  And I think my dressage instructor is the Queen of Darkness.  And I am not at all sure that it was a wise thing to engage a USDF Grand Prix rider to help out with driven dressage. Isn't driven dressage all about the hats and the outfits anyway?

 The Queen of Darkness keeps coming up with all these ideas that would make the average combined driver roll over in the grave.  Leg yield, rapid fire transitions from the shoulder fore position, upper body positioning (mine), shoulder positioning (his), canter transitions (we don't even canter in driven dressage until Advanced - Hellooo), canter work to strengthen back muscles and build topline, thumbs on top, don't collapse your ribcage, stop contorting your body to the left, get him more on the outside rein, yes I know he is heavy right now - it's where he is at, six pack pony abs, half halt from your stomach. . .

The latest torture was the introduction of a shallow serpentine at the canter.  Seriously.  In preparation for mastering the counter canter.  Inside shoulder back.  Half halt on the third beat.  I can't count that fast - this is a 13.2 pony after all! What do you mean you want this driven from the outside rein.  Brynnie - are you listening to ANY of this?  Think you might cooperate a little???

And yet. . . I have been working with Queenie for about four months.  Pony boy is getting six pack abs.  I can sit up straight, keep my thumbs on top.  He can actually use his back - the space between the back strap and his back is miniscule.  All this in a forward frame with throughness.  And how we laugh.  She has the best phrases - his hind quarters are not just a friend following closely behind.  Expand the toolbox.  If all you have is a screwdriver then everything has to look like a screw. 

So, after yesterday's beat down, I will gird my loins, put to the presentation carriage and head back out for another round.  Because, just like his eventing cousins, Brynnie's ability to make those quick turns, and hold the line in smooth arcs really does all begin in the dressage court.