Lesson Wrap-Up: The Shoulder Saga Continues

Last night was awesome, and also probably paint-dryingly boring to anyone who isn't a Dressage nut.  Apologies in advance.

When we last left our heroes, their Dressage had gone all to crap and after sending up some signal flares and SOS calls to the trainer, we figured out he was piling all his weight onto his right shoulder in both directions, aka "not straight".

My rides since then have been workmanlike.  Nothing as good as last week's lesson, nothing near as bad as when we both forgot what straightness was, but we made progress, and she noticed and told me so.  "I can tell you've been working hard on this outside of lessons," is the biggest compliment ever.

Last night was 100% spent on a 20m circle (you're asleep already, aren't you?).  The first exercise was spiraling in and out to a cone at the center of it, right rein.  I had to move his shoulders out, turn his nose, and I had to do it like every two steps, which she earned her lesson fee by repeating overandoverandover.  But I can't just move him out from my inside leg, I also have to catch and hold him in my bad rein, the left one.

Next, same thing, but to the left, and because his problems are the same but totally different to the left (same = he piles on the right shoulder, different = that manifests itself differently to the left).  He kept trying to carry his haunches in and his shoulder out, so I had to focus on leading him with the inside (left) rein, getting that shoulder to really come through on the inside.

Synchronized chili vulturing on my lunch break.

To this direction, I really have to wait him out to get him to come into the bridle, but it was worth it.  It was the best he's gone in months, and we got the compliment, "Wow, that's some fancy trot, he's so free through the shoulders right now."  Bingo!

Christmas candy practicing, (husband made these, I roll and wrap).  This is why we should be friends.

Finally, we did it at the canter.  The right (always the worse direction) was motorcycleland (his favorite canter evasion) and she said he's got so much weight on the right shoulder, his left (outside) fore is actually almost crossing over it.  So she had me pick up the left rein when the left fore was just about to come off the ground, and take it up and over to encourage him to do the same with his foot.  It made a huge difference, and we ended up cooling out by working on that at the walk in the leg yield.

I ended by telling her I am enjoying Dressage bootcamp, and I am.  When 45 minutes makes that big of a difference in the way your horse moves, how could you not?


  1. Are those homemade caramels? I think I need them in my life.

    1. Yes ma'am. Homemade sea salt caramels. And since (this will be blogged about tomorrow) I need to come up with $3k for a saddle in January, I will sell some to you! Haha.

    2. yum want the candy. Sounds like the long workmanlike rides are totally what you 2 needed. I really like working on the harder concepts at the walk, at least I know my horse appreciates the slower pace to use his noggin.

    3. PLEASE sell me some! I love sea salt caramels :)

  2. Replies
    1. This batch was so soft, it melted in your mouth. Amazing. We give them out as Christmas presents. If there is enough interest I'll sell some!

  3. Sounds like a good lesson, for sure. Foster also loves to lean on his right shoulder, and we were working on renvers to teach him to lift them. It's been a while since I've visited spiral in-and-out though, and I think I will work that into our next school! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I love the detailed lesson breakdowns - so often it's something I'm struggling with too, so the tips are super helpful and appreciated :)

  5. Yay for making progress! And caramels!

  6. Those caramels kept me awake through the boring dressage ride. mmmmmmcaramelssssss

    KIDDING, I'M KIDDING! I think Paddy and Connor may be channeling each other. Can you imagine if they got turned out together? Everyone would die of cuteness overload AND we'd be stuck with that damn right shoulder FOREVER.

  7. Love your boring dressage post, as I can totally use it in my ride tonight! :) PS - yum!

  8. awesome lesson! i have only a few moments of this - but am already addicted to that feeling of slogging through some tortuous exercise only to realize that, bam - just like that your horse is moving better than it ever has ever before... so cool :) (and yes, plz share your candy!!)

  9. Love that feeling like things are finally getting somewhere! A coach that can help you see progress in one lesson is not one to let go of!


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