Ready for our lesson.
This past Saturday Klein and I had our first dressage lesson here and it was probably one of the best and most intuitive lessons we have had. We are fortunate enough to be incredibly close to the barn up an FEI trainer. Her facility is absolutely gorgeous and in addition to lessons they also hold clinics, schooling shows, and rated shows regularly. We are walking distance from this place.
I had heard nothing but great things about this trainer and was really excited to ride with her. I stopped by their rated show the weekend prior to say hi. She is a VERY nice lady and her entire facility is immaculate. I had a fitting with a Custom Saddlery rep lined up for the next day and there was a storm coming in that evening. She is friends with the Custom Rep and told her it was no problem if I wanted to just bring the girls down to her place and use her ring for the fitting since hers is covered. She invited us in like we were boarders there for years.
I told her that for the first lesson if she just wanted to get a feel for us that was fine. I told her I'm also not a person that would be offended if she told me I'm not where I think I'm at in terms of our preparedness for Second Level. I never want a trainer to just tell me everything is fine because that will just never be true. You can always improve and anyone who isn't prepared to accept a critique from an upper level professional is on the wrong path if improvement is what you're looking for.
What I really liked immediately is that I could tell that she is a very quiet and soft with the horses. Just the way she speaks to them, it's obvious she is very kind. I could tell that from the ground when she met the girls the weekend before when I brought them over to work with the Custom Rep (Klein is staying in her Trilogy, Super B ended up with an amazing Custom Icon Star).
I told her that one thing I felt like we were a little inconsistent with is our connection, especially to the left. We're not a mess by any means but the connection definitely needed some fine tuning and she fine tuned us in that one lesson alone! I basically was giving the connection away intermittently and we fixed that with a more consistent outside rein. We improved our upward transitions from the trot to the canter as well, just smoother departs immediately from three small changes.
We got Klein engaging just a little more and brought some more energy into our medium trot. She definitely gave us some good homework. She also reminded us "you can never do too many transitions." I know this, but I needed the reminder.
We worked on that homework yesterday and had the best connection we've had yet to the left and the most consistent overall. This is also still in a loose ring french link snaffle. Klein is still in that for dressage. She had some of the best transitions she has ever had as well, just more fluid both upward and downward. As far as the canter, me giving away that outside connection ever so slightly was creating a small issue for us, and we fixed that. Even just lowering my outside hand helped.
I was planning to put Klein in the rated show here next month for 2-1 & 2-2 but I think we can come out better at second if we wait until the April show and get a couple more lessons in and keep working on our homework. She told me we are where I think we are, second level is totally in our grasp right now, but we can definitely make some easy improvements before we hit the rated ring this year. So that is the plan. There actually a schooling show at her place coming up in a couple weeks and I thought about taking Klein but Klein has all the show miles she needs and can go to any new place and own it. Super B has been doing exceedingly well lately and I think I will end up taking her because she DOES need the show miles. I could take them both of course, but I would like to just have all my concentration on Super B and not be dividing my attention between two horses, one of which doesn't have extensive show experience aside from various racetracks. I think all of my energy focused on Super B would be better for her at this point, especially for a show that is just a schooling show.