The hurricane finally reached us and it was pouring rain by the time I got to my lesson. So I decided that I would probably melt in the rain seeing how I am so sweet (ok ok, I'm a wuss), and I really needed a dressage lesson.
This lesson started out with being more focused on making Annie go where I wanted her to go and not going where Annie wanted to go. The far end of the arena has an opening to the barn area and that end was also open to the outside so she didn't want to go all the way into the corners of that end.
I got a good focus area of giant orange cones almost all the way against the wall to ride between. I really had to focus on keeping my inside rein short and fixing my hand on her withers so she couldn't escape through her neck and evade sideways and using my inside leg to push her against the wall. This is counter intuitive to your first reaction of taking the outside rein and trying to pull the horse against the wall. Horses are pretzels and don't have to go the direction their head is pointed at if they aren't so inclined.
Next we focus on riding accurate figures by riding the 20m circle like I was riding to each specific letter in the arena. Many of my previous dressage tests are more in the vein of "oh god let's get it over with" then actual planning and strategy. I think that riding the circles as points will help me with more accurate figures.
Here's a nice picture of us trotting to the right, which is our more difficult direction. I like how she's tracking up all the way and looks focused and engaged.
We did this at both the trot and the canter. Her weak lead is her right lead and I discovered that since she is weaker and tends to fall in on this side I don't need to be as firm about steering her in this direction, more just looking and thinking about turning right and she'll turn right.
In conclusion (can you only say that when giving a closing argument in a court room?) I thought the dressage lesson was much needed and should put us in a good position for our show next weekend.