Dressage Lesson with Harry Payne @ Watt Meadow

Finn is looking much better (scabby-donkey-syndrome clearing up well) so wasn’t too embarrassed to present her at Watt Meadow today!

We mainly worked on balance and suppleness in today’s session, using the 10m circle leg-yield out to 20m – in trot and canter once we were warmed up.  I asked Harry about ‘inside leg to outside hand’ as I just can’t seem to feel it.  Harry said that I was doing it – if I was able to release my inside rein without losing balance, rhythm etc. then it was there.  Simple!

We worked on improving the canter with some shoulder-in; Finn did find this difficult, but I do need to allow more with the right hand when on the left rein….  I was blocking her so no wonder it was hard for her to do!

I told Harry that I had been inspired by the demo riders at Your Horse Live (the Eilberg’s, Oliver Townend, Geoff Billington and Lucinda Fredericks); all of whom taught their horses to rein-back at a very early stage.  Finn has not done this so I asked Harry to help me with it.  Finn struggled to understand when I asked her (I checked the aids with Harry to be sure I was asking the right thing) so Harry tried to find a schooling whip to place against her chest to encourage her to step back – there wasn’t one to be found – so he improvised with a yard broom, just gently touching her chest with the handle while I gave the aids and asked her to go back.  It worked wonders and she understood.  Home work is to nail this – 10 times per session until she completely understands and moves back easily, softly and straight.

We finished off with some nice stretchy long-and-low trot on both reins – Finn enjoys this – but be sure I maintain the contact and rhythm,  don’t let her get too low or she will become unbalanced.  A good lesson today, I enjoyed it and we have more to work on at home.