Archive for February, 2011

Tah-Dah!!

Map of a Driving Lesson

amywink February 26th, 2011

I put my GPS in my pocket for my lesson yesterday afternoon and this is what I found when I got home:

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You can’t seem my nice neat circles, or straight lines, or diagonals….so take my word for it, we were perfect. haha!

Well, maybe not perfect, but I did do better than I had been doing. Now I must work on smoothing out my hand in the turns, making my changed more fluidly. Today, I will work with Will some more and I will try again with the GPS.

Last week, I did manage to set up some circles in the dressage arena and remember to hit the “lap” button when I wanted to see what I had done.

And I did get some good shots of what we need to work on.

Here we have a pretty good diagonal pattern
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And a mediocre 20m circle–maybe something’s out of whack on the actual markers….

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Yes, I think definitely I need to check those distances on that circle…..or is it an egg?

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But I did get nice straight lines. . . an another egg

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But good diagonals even by Lap 8

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At least the I could tell what was what after the entire outing:

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We’ll see if I can do better this afternoon.

Circles

amywink February 14th, 2011

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Trust me, there’s a circle in there somewhere! :)

Sunday, the weather and timing worked perfectly and Will and I got back to work on our circles. I had thought that the GPS unit would help me see if my circles were better but I forgot to hit the lap button to separate the paths I took each time. Perhaps you can see the nice diagonals we achieved a couple of times! Next time, I’ll hit the lap button. Despite the lack of evidence, we did do some respectable circles. My contact is much improved with the new hand position and Will is responding very well so I am generally pleased.

I did discover an issue with my gloves. My middle finger has been getting quite uncomfortable with the new position–the rein comes into the hand between the middle finger and the ring finger, then comes out of the hand above the pointer finger– and yesterday I determined that perhaps the finger of the glove was too tight, so I tried a larger glove on my left hand. Sure enough, that worked much better. I am still having an issue with my knuckle and the rein so I am trying to adjust the position of the rein to see if that improves as well. I might need to look for glove without a seam down the finger but I’ll wait to see if I can make the larger glove more comfortable. I may have to trade off the too long fingers of the glove for the comfort of my knuckle fit.

Will was very happy after our drive and finally posed for a nice photo:

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Best Laid Plans

amywink February 5th, 2011

Winter is upon us and despite my plans to get back into a driving routine, we have been thwarted by the weather. This week it remained below freezing for 70 hours and the last bit of those hours were marked by actual snow. Of course, it wouldn’t have been enough for sleighing, but it did keep me indoors except for brief forays to take some photos for evidence.

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It’s not Chicago, of course, but an inch is pretty much all we get in Texas so we’re impressed.

The ‘Arctic Blast’ kept me from seeing the horses too but I did get a drive in last Saturday, before the temperatures plummeted. We headed down in the morning to check in on Windy, who is making excellent progress in her training. Lisa had a chance to see her driven, and also ride along. I was on Photographer’s Duty!

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Doesn’t she look lovely?

Once we got home from the visit, I got Will out for our first drive since our lesson (and another lesson for me) I’m still working on the new hand position but I like it very much. Because I’m used to the reins slipping, which is not correct, I’m working out feeling like I have too *much* tension on the reins, which is correct. Unlearning can be a challenge but I am getting more comfortable with the new hand position and Will is adjusting accordingly.

We had a few discussions in which he expressed some concerns about my intent, and a few frustrations with my expectations. But we worked it out pretty well and he eventually decided he’d do as I requested–though it was clear he was slightly annoyed that I’d gone off and learned something new that involved him doing something more challenging. img_9340.jpg

I have noticed several significant improvements. I had been driving from the center of the seat to alleviate the heavy right hand issue I have had in the past and because I couldn’t seem to manage even tension on the reins. But I moved the seat back to the right so Francine could ride alongside during my lesson and on my drive last Saturday, I hadn’t yet returned it to the middle and found myself up and ready to go before I noticed it–since moving it involves a loud ripping sound of velcro being disengaged, I decided to just drive from the right. And to my surprise, and pleasure, I didn’t have the same issues any more. The new hand position, combined perhaps with the year and a half of driving, has made a difference in my contact from the right. Additionally, since learning the new hand position and the corresponding whip position (holding it more upright toward 11 o’clock), I find it much easier to manage both. So far.

The weather will delay my next drive until next weekend at least–and who knows what the weather next weekend will be exactly, but Punxsutawney Phil promised an early spring, so maybe we’ll miss more cold weather and get back to driving! My goal this spring is to make it to the Heart of Texas Morgan Show in April. Here’s hoping for that early spring!!