In which we take lessons and learn stuff: an afternoon very well-spent

We Swamplanders think that any temps above 75 degrees is pretty dang hot, and this week it's been above 80 degrees most days. The ground is not only dry, it's actually dusty!

We mostly ride trails during the summer, but with a new rider in the house, riding lessons are a priority for all of us.

My lessons are not just for me (although I certainly need them!), but also for Fiddle, who is a very fancy dressage horse when she (finally) figures out what we're asking her to do.

Fiddle's canter has improved dramatically in the past month--she now offers to canter, even on flat ground. When she gets tired (at the end of a hot, dusty lesson, for example) she would rather throw a fit than cooperate, even though being naughty is harder work!

For our next few lessons, we decided to work on the canter at the beginning of the lesson, and practice familiar stuff when she's starting to get tired.

Her collected trot has improved dramatically, as has my posture. Hmmm. Those things are probably connected.

She has a lot of "rear engine" available now. It's very cool to ride all that power!

Madeline was waiting for her lesson, and really wanted to ride Fiddle for a few minutes, even though Fiddle thought that lesson time should be over and it should be time for a nice cool bath and a bite of grass.

Mads rode through the naughtiness and got to enjoy some of that amazing trot.

Uh, oh. More naughty.

Then, back to work.

Willy and Guy were working on posting the trot again, and Willy's confidence is definitely boosted.

They even did some canter work!

See, Fiddle: if an old horse like Guy can canter, it probably won't kill you to practice it. Heh heh heh.

Willy says he'd like to try galloping soon.
I'm not sure Guy will allow galloping, though. Guy has strong opinions about what "his" riders are permitted to do, and if he doesn't think a rider can handle a particular gait or speed, there's not a stick in the world big enough to make him do it.

He also won't spook, shy, or do any other doof-headed manuever with a beginner aboard.

Truthfully, I think horses like Guy are worth gold. Lots of gold.
Madeline's usual lesson-horse was lame this week, so she went to the pasture and pulled an old friend out for the afternoon. Ross is a crazy-shaggy pony during the winter, but he gets lovely and glossy in summer, doesn't he?

Mads had the same posture-issues I have, but she's really worked hard to overcome them. I see a lot of improvement in her riding these days!

Finally, it's Jim's turn for a lesson with Hana. Hana has had lessons with Dory before (with me riding), but Jim hasn't. They had a great time.

He was pretty sure that he would never be able to sit the trot on his mare, and less than an hour later, he was doing it!

Yeah, you heard it here first:

Life is good.


  1. Keep up the good work, lessons are wonderful and both you and Fiddle will learn alot.

    All of your riders looked great and so did your horses.

  2. Tonka has not mastered the canter. First, he does not like to have to got that fast. It is awfully hard work for one who is so very lazy. Second, if he is going to work hard he might as well do it at a pace, so that he doesn't have know...*think* too much. Third, if he doesn't take the canter on the the first cue he knows that I'll probably slow down before I ask again. The key concept being *slow down*. I can get the canter pretty consistently on the left lead if I force the issue around a corner. The right remains evasive. Sounds like you and Fiddle are making better progress!

  3. In the first pictures, is that a cloud of airborne mud? Who knew such a thing was possible!!

    The horses all look lovely and shiny, and the riders look happy. Sounds like a great lesson day!

  4. That's great that everybody is involved in riding lessons. Thanks for the tip about the cooling vests over at my blog.


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