Fab Laura to the Rescue!!!

I had grand plans of getting to the barn an hour early, tidying Dassah up (mane and tail needed additional pulling), and making sure we were all ready to go once Laura arrived. Unfortunately I needed to be with my family during a very terrible emergency and arrived at the barn just minutes before my appointment - FL (Fab Laura) was already there. Thankfully Dassah hadn't rolled in a mud-pit or her stall so after a quick dust-off and tack-up we headed to the front indoor. Judging by the wind and the dramatic exit of the barn, I quickly ascertained that a stretch of the legs before I mounted would be wise - the front indoor was taken by a very nice boarder who was quite happy to have another rider in there but when she casually mentioned she was just enjoying a nice leisurely ride, I thanked her and we headed to the back indoor. I was not going to be that boarder.

I had actually wanted Laura to work us in the back indoor. A coaches shed (for that is what it looks like) had been moved into a far corner of the indoor and for the past four times that we've ridden, Dassah has tried to make me aware that inside that booth lives a chestnut-mare eating, carrier of carrot, apple, and sugar cube disease, de-worming paste spewing, shot giving rabid bunny.

WHAT?? Do you KNOW what is in there?! My god woman, have you lost your mind? The apocalypse is just behind those doors! You want ME to do WHAT? Look, I am standing in the middle of the arena, that is.damn.well.close.enough. Get that sugar-cube away from there! Yes, in my mouth, much better.

You see what I have to deal with (Sarah speaking now). At any rate, if Laura could provide better insight on how to treat the box of wood in the corner, I was game. I had tried ignoring the box, addressing the box, and tried setting up cavelletti all over the arena to keep Diva's brain occupied while we worked all around the arena. Nothing worked. Dassah was not fooled and we had gotten nowhere. Laura's advice: Just ignore it, work on the other side of the arena and then each day, work more closely to the box. Progress without making it a battle. I dig that. That's the key with Dassah, I realized with Laura's insight. Dassah loves a battle because she can put up a hell of a fight. She's just the temperament. However, if it's her idea or she's been asked, then there's a good chance she'll do it. That's not to say I'll not insist or tell, but asking goes a long way. - this works in almost every aspect (would you please trot, trot now, flick of the crop. Half-halt please, half-halt now, strong half-halt).

I had plans of working on our transitions, of trying my hand at shoulder-ins, of making Laura proud with the amazing job I've done as super-wonder-rider. But Laura had us go back a bit, back to relaxation. Dassah hates leg. HATES leg. She must accept leg though in order to accept the aids -  but not like how I imagined. Through slowly training Dassah, I have a horse that responds incredibly well to my seat. I just need to start using it properly. With Dassah I can use my seat to ask for forward - it's my legs I need to use to ask for direction - not exactly forward. I learned that a side-to-side hip motion, in rhythm with her walking stride, will keep Dassah relaxed - I couldn't figure out how to keep a passive seat at the walk with Dassah until Laura advised the side-to-side motion. What a difference that made!

Going back to relaxation and hating leg... When I add leg Dassah anticipates this to mean faster, to rush, to become anxious. Laura had us go back to simply walking and asking for leg yields - with no increase in pace. For the first part of the lesson, Dassah would pin her ears back and rush as soon as I asked for the leg yield. Soon enough though, we were on the buckle and leg yielding!! We worked on this at the trot and it took about the same amount of time but then we had it there too! We are to work at a walk and trot on this until we are have it consistently. Then we can add in canter - not for the next couple weeks though. I had a very relaxed horse last summer and I can't wait to get there again!

I love my DivaBrain. and Laura!


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