Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Practice makes...perfect?

I have two dressage competitions this weekend. I wouldn't normally do two shows in two days, but as they're both being held where I keep Echo and chances to compete are few and far between, I thought it probably wouldn't hurt.

We are desperately practising being precise now - I find it really hard to ride her well in a test, maintaining her way of going and getting her best movement, partly, I think, because I don't usually ride to markers. I make a transition when I have achieved what I wanted to in the previous pace - for example, I would never make a transition to canter if the trot wasn't going forward and supple first. In a test, however, you've just got to do it, and it can feel horrible at times.

I also find that she gets really heavy in my hand during a test, going onto her forehand. How I tried to get around this yesterday was to ride a couple of movements from the test, then get her back up again by riding on a circle. I don't really know how to fix it when in the middle of a test.

Being prelim tests, they are not particularly difficult, but I am finding the precision really challenging - it's definitely something I need to work on. This evening when I ride her, I will practise making transitions at particular markers and changing the rein when I have to, not just when she's ready. I don't want to practise my tests too frequently, but I need to get my accuracy problems sorted.

On a completely different note, I am really suffering with my back at the moment. I find that after doing any work on collection with Echo, my lower back really hurts. I'm sure my position is not what it should be. My best friend is a physio and she suggested that I might be tilting my pelvis too far forward and I should think about keeping it in balance when I ride, but it is really quite sore today. No sitting trot for me this evening!


Kate said...

Ah, lower backs! I've had back trouble for years, so you have my sympathy. Your friend is right, you may be changing your position when you ask for collection - try keeping your position the same and even relaxing a bit -don't push with your seat. That might help. The getting heavy on the bit may also be due to some tension you are carrying - or - are you by any chance looking down? Many people do this at transitions - it tends to drive the horse's energy downwards - so instead practice looking up and mentally feeling "lifting" as you do a transition - it can lighten everything up. These are just a few things that have helped me.

Jackie said...

That's got to be nice to have some shows right where you keep Echo. Sure is a convenient way to get her some show experience.

I recently read that tight hamstrings contribute to lower back problems. Robert Dover ended up having back surgery because of that, and strongly recommends a good stretching regime before and after riding. I always have tight hamstrings, and tend to have lower back pain after a hard ride. I've started stretching more and it's really been helping.

Wiola said...

Hey Suzie, check out my post from the 21st May - you've been tagged! Have fun :)

Daily adventures while training my young horse.