5.5.17

Dressage training with Ville Vaurio: be determined

It's been a long time since I've had a lessons with Vallu that required trailering somewhere. Having lived the last 3 winters in England I decided that trailering even a short distance was too much in the middle of winter here in Finland and definitely not worth the risk with Vallu. He's such a good traveller that I didn't want to ruin that just because I wanted to go training, so it's no wonder that 5 months passed by before I was happy enough to take him anywhere. So finally last Sunday we had a lesson with Ville, which I was really excited about, as Ville has trained us every now and then over the lat 5 years and he knows Vallu really well as we had him for training livery for 6 months with Ville. I always go to Ville's lesson with "please help me fix this" and don't have to explain anything because he immediately knows what to do.
This time I asked for help riding Vallu's walk. It's really difficult for me to get a good walk out of him because Vallu easily goes a bit passagey, tense or BTV no matter what I do which is one of the reasons why I haven't competed him much because I know our scores would get knocked down thanks to a crappy walk. Over the years with different trainers I've been told to 'over ride' the walk, to totally leave him alone and pray for the best or ride in a near shoulder-fore feeling to try and get the best walk out of him. The leave him alone option has had the best results so far but it has been a bit hit and miss, somedays I could get 7s for the walk and sometimes a 3. When I told Ville that I wanted help with the walk, he immediately said that we just need to get him better through the neck.

To help with this, we did a lot of work in counter canter on a 20 meter circle with the aim of doing slight flexions of the neck to the inside and to the outside. Sounds simple enough and at home Vallu would do this no problem... But on Sunday he decided that nope, it was too difficult and I got everything from single flying changes to one tempi changes to spooks and halt transitions! To get him  do a circle in counter canter without any additional movements required absolute concentration and a lot of determination. Blocking all the other horses and riders out and just concentrating on what Ville was saying and being 100% committed mentally to getting Vallu to do what I wanted was the only way that I got my counter canter circle! It did make me smile that something so simple needed totally perfect riding from me, but thats what you get with having a schoolmaster and it's exactly the reason why I begged my parents to let me have Vallu instead of selling him all those years ago. You get nothing for free and you always learn something! 🙌🏻 After 20 minutes of canter and flexions and lots of pats, Vallu's walk was the best that it has probably ever been. So of course Ville was right, it's all about getting him softer and better through the neck and being determined to ride a good walk.

I'm not mad at all that it didnt go exactly to plan and Ville for sure did not see our best work because it was a beautiful sunny day, Vallu loaded into to the trailer straight away and behaved impeccably despite not being anywhere on his own for months. I had a great time and I'm so blessed that dad was willing to drive us there and back despite my lesson being right when the Formula 1 race was on! Bestest dad ever!!
(Now I'm off to go practise riding counter canter circles like there's no tomorrow!)

4 comments:

  1. ha go figure! i feel like that's such a horse thing - here we are doing these advanced and exciting things, but the most basic or fundamental exercise eludes us.... oh well, sounds like a great ride all the same!

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    1. I know, so weird... And yesterday Vallu did both counter canter circles beautifully first time and offered NO flying changes! Gaahhh! Horses keep us humble, that's for sure hahha

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  2. I kinda love having lessons when my horse is mentally not on his best behavior. That's when I need the most help! Plus, Vallu is just so handsome. It's probably hard to be upset with him for long, even when he makes you work super hard and correctly! ;)

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    1. Yeah me too, I have a kind of love/hate relationship with those kinds of lessons... Yeah they're good for learning to ride a difficult horse but since the opportunities for lessons like these are rare I'd hope to have a well behaved pony to be able to practise what I wanted to! But at the same time, I'm incredibly fortunate to have this horse to ride so I'm happy with every ride!

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