Alison Thompson and Ike – photo by Angelina Tankelwicz

My abdominal muscles are still in recovery mode today. Yesterday was my weekly lesson with Ms. C and it was not our usual lesson.

Before I explain, I feel I must tell you this. I have never ridden above First Level. Yes, that’s right. You could say that I really know next to nothing about dressage. I’ve never ridden half pass or done tempi changes. I only imagine what piaffe and passage would feel like. Collected gaits have not been part of my riding repertoire, so it was a complete shock when Ike decided that he was going to work in a “collected” trot for my lesson.

Now I realize that it was not a true collected trot, but what can you expect from a four-year old horse. Trust me, it was lovely for a young horse with a loooong back and looooonger legs. He came up and out of his withers and engaged his hind end. We took advantage of his generosity.

I understand now why you ride collected trot while sitting. Thank goodness it happened during a lesson so Ms. C was able to talk me through my aids (half halt, half halt) to use it as a learning experience for both Ike and me. We even attempted to lengthen the trot down the long side and collect it at the short ends. Poor Ike had no idea what we wanted. I kept trying and he finally started to figure out the game.

I finally had to cry, “Uncle!” and take a walk break. I thought I was in pretty good physical shape for a middle-aged woman. I walk, do Zumba, practice yoga, ride my exercise bike, and still use my 8 Minute Abs DVD. But man, none of my other workouts have prepared me for riding in sit trot for long periods of time. Rising trot? No big deal. Two point? I’ve got that. Sit trot? Yikes!! Feels like I did a 30 minute abdominal workout two or three times in one day.

Keep this workout in mind if you are trying to get ready for bathing suit season. I’m fully expecting to have ripped middle by next summer. Hmm, hopefully wine consumption will not impede this…

Cheers!

Alison