January 12, 2016

Counter Canter to "Think About Half Pass"

The bulk of my lesson on Thursday was spent on two things: counter canter, and bend.

So cute.  Much mud.

We started out with a bit of the spiral in and spiral out through the half pass, and it just wasn't working too well, so my trainer seamlessly switched gears to what I assume is an exercise that she thought of to fix the things that she saw were not working.  It is kind of amazing that she can so subtly switch gears in a lesson like that without calling us out.

We moved onto "pick up the counter canter on the quarterline and think about moving toward the outside rail" i.e. thinking about half pass in the canter.  It took about one trip of that for Connor to get into super Dressage horse mode.

Horse is totally blanketed to the 9's, and yet, I still have to chisel him out from under mud on every exposed surface.

That doesn't mean the exercise got easy once he was that on my aids though.  He kept wanting to give me too much angle, or swing his hindquarters out.

Sometimes it was my fault, I didn't set him up as thoroughly as I could have.  Sometimes it was his fault, and despite my best effort, he picked up the right (wrong) lead anyway.  But he only missed the lead a few times, because generally I could feel when things were going sideways and just wouldn't ask for it unless it was right.

Toward the end, we switched to picking up the counter canter on the centerline, then turning toward the correct lead's direction and doing a half 10m circle back to the rail.  It required so much preparation that I totally did not give him the first time, and I buried him.  He did it, but it was scrambly.  Every other one was good after that though.

Gratuitous photo of Dog #1 (at a very unflattering angle - promise he's not overweight) trying to get husband to feed him.

I am beginning to see a theme as the work gets more advanced - we need more preparation.


  1. 2nd level ... the level in which you realize you spend more time thinking and preparing for the movement ahead than actually riding the movement. That's why it's important your horse learn to go where you tell him and STAY THERE, so that way you can get ready for the next movement. I like the middle levels for that reason, there's less time to think between movements. You memorize the dance and execute it. Those long pauses in Training and First throw me out of the tests, and I forget where in the hell I'm going! :)

  2. I can't wait to start working on fun flat work with Annie. I forgot about all of the hours and rides that went into making Houston.

    Sounds like things are progressing well for you guys!

  3. These are some of the exact things I spent my hack ride working on yesterday!

  4. So much preparation is needed for all those things. Sounds like fun though!

  5. i read somewhere once that the most successful dressage riders plan out their tests by determining where they will half halt. it sounded *crazy* to me when i read that... but now i'm starting to see how it could possibly work lol

  6. So complex but I love reading about your progress!