Dressage lesson with Andrew Fletcher: flexibility

So we had our first lesson since moving to Nottingham!! And it felt so good to have a lesson again, although I was a little bit nervous about having my lesson in english for the first time in 4 years?!? 
We started off with Andrew looking at Vallu and me doing walk, trot and canter, as well as a bit of leg yield. As soon I started trotting around the feeling of dread just overcame me, Vallu was in a really bad mood, he argued against my hand, 'spooked' at nothing and kicked out against my leg/spur even though I didn't use my leg aids any harder than previously… I obviously got tense and nervous, started being a bit panicky with my riding and all my worst riding habits came straight back. So much for a great lesson… Oh well, it always good for a new teacher to see you at your worst straight away ;)

So to improve our awful beginning, we worked on these exercises:
- walk circle, flexion → walk pirouettes (with flexion out too!!)
- trot circle flexion, leg yield
- canter → halt → reinback 10 or 15 steps → trot
- canter haunches in → very very  large working pirouette
- big trot circle, neck high up and SOFT

And did we improve? Oh yes! It was like a magical transformation, from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan, but a beautiful dressage swan ;) Vallu's trot improved so much that he ended up managing to pull off one of his front shoes… Luckily it came clean off, and his foot is now all wrapped up in animalintex padding and vet wrap, waiting for the farrier to come put the shoe back on tomorrow.

I then got the longest list of homework that I've ever gotten from a single lesson: no sitting trot, lots of long rein backs (10-15 steps, first on right rein then left rein as V stays straighter on right) tons of trot and canter leg yields and half passes (make them steep, and go forwards → Vallu more flexible) as well as always warming up with plenty of walk pirouettes. So that is me sorted out for the next month!

Things to remember:
Always get softness first
Keep hands still, no pulling back,  instead always shorten rein and hands up
If something doesn't feel good, continue working at it until it feels good

I cannot wait for our next lesson, and to continue working with Andrew over the winter so that hopefully in the spring we could start competing?! As much I've enjoyed riding on my own, it was about time that someone inspired me.

The below video is not at all relevant to the lesson, but how pretty is this?!

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