June 20, 2012


Last night, we rode through our tests in the grass Dressage arena across the road.  With its low plastic rail and tall (3ft) letter cones, plus the fact that we’ve only ridden in it once before, it was the closest approximation to the show I could get.  With the ground being as hard as it is and the weather at 6pm being as hot as it was, I rode through each (very short) test three times before calling it a day.  We have another ride on Thursday, and three times through was enough to identify what was good and what was a pain point.

The Good
  • He was a little uncertain about the surroundings, but paid attention to me when I asked for it.
  • Achieving roundness and contact was easy on the corners and circles.
  • The free walk: it is still bangin’.  The transition from medium walk to free walk is especially fantastic as he chews the reins out of my hand all the way to the ground.
  • Halts are looking good and are headed in the general direction of ‘square’.
  • For the first time ever, we got walk-trot transitions without a brief moment of upward movement in which he throws his head up and loses the connection.  Big moment!
The Pain Points and How I’m Working on Them
-          #1: Going from the free walk to the medium walk without turning into an ostrich
o   My solution: The transitions from free walk to medium walk in both Intro A and B are at turns (in A, at H off the long diagonal and in B, at E off  the short diagonal) , which give me a chance to apply enough inside leg to push him into my newly strong outside rein, half-halting there and moving his inside hind in.  This has the effect of immediately putting him into contact, however, I will have to time it well.
-          #2: Maintaining connection and roundness on straight lines
o   My solution: Remembering to actively ride.  He tends to lose focus and connection when we’re on the rail or coming down the centerline, which I’m assuming is because my hands aren’t active and/or I am forgetting my aids since we “aren’t doing anything.”  Keeping him engaged and soft by establishing an outside rein and playing with the inside should help here.
-          #3: Straightness down the centerline
o   My solution: Again, better and more active riding on my part.  He’s wiggly when I don’t apply my aids in quick enough succession. 
-          #4: Figures
o   My solution: thinking about it.  If there is one thing we’re going to get docked on because it’s my fault and not his, it’s figures.  Since I’ve been riding the green bean for so long, it’s been a while since I had a really nitpicky lesson on proper figures.  I just have to think hard about it while we’re out there.

And that’s pretty much it!  I’m feeling really confident heading into the weekend.  Ride times are spread out nicely, not too terribly early, and he feels better than ever with what my trainer and Nancy have given me in the past month.  So excited!


  1. I just looked at times and there are a lot of Intro rides at this show. Should be fun!

  2. Yeah! I'm excited, I should be able to get to see your ride. Are you going to be able to add C?

  3. Sounds like you have a great plan. Have fun and enjoy the experience. Pictures please :)

  4. Jen - sticking with Intro B only...one last time :)

  5. good luck!! let us know how it goes!