The past few weeks I've changed my work schedule around so I could take some dressage lessons with the barn's regular trainer. She normally teaches younger kids, and after watching some very basic walk/trot lessons, I wasn't sure if we were going to click. Holy crap...After two lessons, I've never been more sore or sweaty, and learned so much. I absolutely LOVE her and it makes me not want to move at the end of the month. I've never really understood what is an appropriate amount of contact to have. After growing up with drill sergeant instructors who repeated over and over the importance of "soft hands" I didn't realize until two weeks ago how my idea of soft hands is really NO contact...like not even a feel on Finn's mouth. Trainer emphasized that having weight in my hands is important, and letting Finn know I'm there to help him is important, until he's able/strong enough to carry himself correctly. When I lifted my hands, and really pushed him into my hands, it was like a whole different world. A forward, relaxed horse for all of five strides until we lost it. Our second lesson was better than our first, and trainer had to constantly remind me to scratch Finn on the neck when he was a good boy. Whenever I scratched Finn and whispered good boy, he'd try even harder. Trainer says Finn is not the type of horse that you can just "force" something onto him. He needs to think about it, process it, and try to execute it. If he doesn't execute correctly he gets frustrated. He thrives on positive reinforcement and really wants to do things right, he just doesn't have the training yet. When trainer asked us what our goals were I said I'd like to do a few BN schooling events this summer, and work on getting him collected, willing, and straight. We reviewed the dressage pyramid of training and I guess I didn't realize how high up actual straightness is:

I think we have made strides this past year in terms of rhythm, relaxation, and connection...but not so much in terms of impulsion. We'll also be taking a few jumping lessons in the next few weeks before we move with the other trainer at the barn. My friend Michelle, who was riding Finn a few times a week, recently moved her horse closer to home, so now it's all on me, and I haven't jumped him in nearly a month. I've been riding 4-5 times a week on the flat and I really feel like we're getting somewhere, but we definitely need to start jumping more. Tentative schedule for the week:

Monday- Flat school outside
Tuesday- Flat school, and popping over a few cross rails
Wednesday- Finn gets the day off, I'll probably take a yoga class
Thursday- Jumping lesson
Friday- Possible flat school or hack
Saturday- Dressage lesson
Sunday- Day off

In other news, Finn has been breaking out in hives due to bugs. He gets fly sprayed every day, and wears a fly mask but still has hives all over his neck and sides. They don't seem to bother him, and go right down when I put witch hazel on them, but they look horrible. I'm afraid to put him in a fly sheet because I've heard that flies can get under them and bug him even more...but I don't want him looking so horrible. I don't know if I should try a different fly spray (we currently use this) or what.

Very happy to be eating dinner inside with his Back on Track gear on!

This one loves ponies....we're in trouble

Also, be sure to check out the awesome, super cute, Happy Hound stationary giveaway on She Moved To Texas' blog! :)  http://www.shemovedtotexas.com/happy-hound-personalized-equestrian-stationary-giveaway/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SheMovedToTexas+%28She+Moved+to+Texas%29


  1. Maybe try a more potent fly spray? Does the farm you're at use fly predators? Those things are amazing.