April 25, 2014

Dressage Pony Reawakening

"Hey blogland, I'm still curly!"

My trainer came out for my lesson and asked what I wanted to work on.  "Weeeeell, it kind of feels like our Dressage peaked in like February and has been slowly sliding downhill ever since."

"We have done a lot of jumping lately.  Okay."

I love Dressage lessons because they're relentless in a way jumping lessons can't be.  There's time to think between exercises and fences in jumping, but Dressage, it's drinking from a firehose of information, movements, letters and adjustments for a solid hour.  No time to think.

I have a feeling I've been letting him get away with things in jump rides that my Dressage self would never allow, and he's taken that as a license to ignore me.  He was running through my aids and mentally flipping me the bird when I asked for real engagement.  So our lesson looked like this:

1. Bend/counterbend on a 20m circle
2. Bend/counterbend spiraling in and out
3. Bend on the second half of the circle, turn down the quarterline and leg yielding into the rail (He started to listen to my seat here.)
4. Counterbend on the second half of the circle, turn down the rail, and leg yielding into the center of the arena.
5. Repeat 3 and 4, but add in stretchy 20m trot circles at either end of the arena, sometimes in bend, sometimes in counterbend, if Connor was willing to relax. (He started to come onto my aids here.)
6. Really big turn on the haunches circles (He was really on my aids here.)
7. Really big turn on the haunches circle, followed by a bend change heading up the arena and a canter transition.

#7 was our first non-warmup canter, and the most amazing thing happened:  first of all, it was the most collected he's ever been in the canter AND HE HELD IT for entire 20m circles at a time, and second, every four or five strides he'd throw in this big lofty stride that felt like he was a balloon about to lift off.

"What WAS that?!" I asked.

"He was giving you the beginnings of self-carriage in the canter.  You can really see from behind too that he's really lowering his croup and sitting in the canter right now," said my trainer.

"I have never felt anything like those strides before in my life.  I guess his inner Dressage horse was still in there after all."

"Yeah, he just needed a...reawakening."

Calling Connor's inner Dressage pony!  Paging Connor's inner Dressage pony!


  1. That face, those curls!

  2. Those are the rides I live for - full of moments where everything just feels 'right'. Totally addictive and so, so fun :)

  3. Yeah inner dressage pony!! Get it!

  4. Sounds wonderful! I hope we get there someday!