Or, "You don't know what you don't know until you discover you don't know it."
I keep running into this a lot with Cassandra. She makes assumptions and I make assumptions and then we both wonder why in the hell I'm not doing what she wants, then she corrects me and I cry.
Well, not really. At least not the crying part.
The rest though? Spot on.
When I showed as a kid, I showed Western. 40 odd years ago. In 4-H. This is wonderful when you are a kid and want ribbons and the right to earn rosettes at the State Fair, but doesn't really prepare you for learning dressage 40 years later on a horse that is learning with you and who might just be smarter than you are. So, every time I take a lesson I learn something I've been making an assumption about and finding out that I am wrong. Makes an ass out of me, because you weren't there, so it can't make an ass out of you.
Tonight I discovered that the heels down, toes pointed forward does not apply in dressage. It does in Western and for H/J too, but not dressage. My weight should be balanced on the balls of my feet. Or the Gushing Spring TiChi spot according to Cassandra. When done correctly I should be able to feel every twitch of every muscle, nerve and cell in both my legs. While also softening with the inside rein, keeping constant contact on the outside rein, tipping my heel and calf up against his side, holding my outside leg steady and also not whacking anyone across the face with my dressage whip.
I used to think I was good at multi-tasking.
The other thing I learned? That when we transition down into a walk from the trot I shouldn't immediately loosen my reins and let him drop contact. Even at the walk, I should maintain contact. What that means in practical matters is that I should keep my reins the same length, with contact the same, regardless of the speed of the gait. I've been letting Ashke go on a loose rein at the walk, which is bad, because I had to spend most of our lesson relearning and rereminding my stubborn white horse that he really can move forward with contact.
Cassandra laughed and said Ashke has been training me, which I think is a nice way of saying I'm an idiot. By the end of the lesson, I had a better grasp on how he should feel when he is rounding his back and lifting through his hips. I told Cassandra that it felt like we were walking through molasses, but she said he was moving very nicely and faster than I thought. I now know why Cali walks slower than Ashke. It's because when he is moving the way he is supposed to, it's pretty slow.
In 4-H, we were expected to have a booking walk, slow trot and slow canter. Now, the walk is going to be slow.
We worked a lot on trot- walk three steps - trot transitions. He got much better after doing those for awhile. It will give us something to practice.
We ended the lesson with a sweet canter to the left and a pretty much decent canter to the right. He didn't bring his head down for either of those two canters, but he also didn't run away with me either.
J came out with me and took a ton of video. I'm not posting it though, since it was just us walking in a circle, which is about as exciting as watching paint dry.