Hippoi Athanatoi

The Other M

Malupin, that is. Which I expected, since it was a regular dressage lesson today (well, yesterday by now, its past midnight here), but that doesn’t mean I was still hoping for Murphy. Especially since it turned out our regular instructor was off today, and that always makes me a bit more nervous than usual. Fortunately the weather is still mostly just wet, and not very cold, so at least I didn’t have to worry about Malupin being extrasensitive as they sometimes get when its chilly outside.

The start of the lesson was not, however, very promising. The new instructor turned out to have a particular interest: hands. Now, good hands are very, very important, I fully agree, but I was trying my best to focus on the things I have worked on lately with the regular instructor, such as a heavy seat and a straight back. So, my mind was geared towards working on that, while she kept telling me—with alarming regularity—to lift my hands and bring them closer together, to position my whip better and to bend my elbows. The end result was that neither my seat nor my hands came out all that well, except for brief periods of time.

Other than that, it wasn’t so bad, though. The exercise for this lesson was walk-to-canter transitions, and lots of canter work. Since canter aids and canter work are weaknesses of mine, it was certainly good to spend a lot of time on it. Except for the small problem of Malupin being one of those horses that gets very ... eager when a) he knows we’ll start cantering on a specific spot and b) he sees the horse in front of him cantering. As a result, I often don’t engage him enough, since it already feels as if he’s about to explode. However, the few times that I did manage to persuade myself to sit down, collect and engage, I did manage pretty nice transitions. It just didn’t happen often enough.

The longer stretches of canter work came out better, though, as I managed to get him pretty nicely rounded, if still a bit lacking in the suspension department and with his head too low. But as Malupin doesn’t actually have a very good canter (the regular instructor has described it in much more unflattering terms than that on several occasions), I was pretty pleased with the results I managed to accomplish.

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