My friend Jodie who I shared the private barn with for so long is also my trainer/lesson giver. She is one of the best teachers I have ever ridden under. Always positive, listens to me, does not get frustrated when I stop and say "Do what?!?!?" and make her demonstrate. She also makes Bonnie look really good as demonstrated in the picture.
She starts each lesson with riding my horse, talking through everything she's doing and explains why. Then I ride. The very first few minutes of each lesson is all positive feed back from her. She tells me what has improved from last session, then as I start moving into the lesson she gives both corrective action needed and encouragement and when I get it she tells me immediately. Another thing she does that I love, is that she let's me critique her riding. Tell her what I think she is doing right or could fix.
Her challenge with me is that all of my previous training has been Western Pleasure and Showmanship. My muscle memory is that of a western rider, my hands are western hands, my legs are western legs. This Dressage stuff is so different there are things I have to unlearn, and let me tell you 20 years of riding one way does not change over night, or over a months worth of nights, I'm at almost six months of formal Dressage lessons and am finally feeling confident that I could tackle a walk / trot class.
We started out not so good as Rosie just did not want to move off the leg. So 90% of the lesson was transitions from walk/trot - Trot/walk - Trot/halt. I have spurs but never think to put them on, but my opinion over use of spurs causes dead sided horses. The same with over use of a crop. I ended up having to use my carrot stick yesterday to reinforce the "Move forward when I tell you" concept but she was getting it at the end and if she didn't move off the leg immediately I only had to wiggle the stick to get a reaction. My homework is to get my hands more out in-front me, and Rosie's transitions.
One last picture of my wacky socks taken especially for KK and Wa Mare over at All Horse Stuff