January 19, 2016

Game Plan

I mentioned in my last post that I had a game plan going forward.  This is what I've come up with:

1. Develop a better more-appropriate-for-this-stage warmup.
In that Hilda Gurney article I mentioned, she talks about her typical warmup method (free walk, then medium walk, then some SI, then some travers).  I have a feeling my current warmup that we put into place several months ago isn't what he needs right now.  Time to experiment.

What he needed then isn't what he needs now.

2. Act like I don't have a trainer
I need to read more, think more, and become more independent.  My trainer is incredible, almost too incredible.  She teaches as if she were riding the horse with me, which is the only reason we've made as much progress as we have.

She does spend a good part of the lesson quietly observing, but too often I'm drawing a mental blank in those moments when I should be thinking.  I'm of course going to continue taking lessons with her, I'm even upping my regular number of lessons per week in March.  But I have to be able to ride on my own too.

The dream team

3. Actually get to a damn Dressage show.
I was surprised to find out that the things we're working on are almost all second level skills, because I haven't been to a Dressage show in three years and I only went down centerline for eventing twice last year.  Part of the reason I'm feeling lost is that Dressage tests function as a guide, to show you where you are now and what you should be working on next.

MORE OF THIS.  Sadly in a jump saddle instead of a Dressage saddle though, RIP Wintec.

4. Clinic or haul-in for a lesson with a straight Dressage trainer - suggestions welcome
I'm just curious what an impartial straight Dressage observer would say about us right now, and what they would suggest.  I have wheels, so I can make this happen.  Suggestions?

Come back, CJF, I miss you.


  1. Honestly, at your stage and with your type of horse I would go see Nancy. But, she's in Florida right now. PM me for details on other trainers available.

  2. Oh yes definitely haul out and dressage shows!

  3. Thinking independently of my trainer has helped with my confidence a lot, but I've really had to practice it! Which sounds weird... but it's true.

  4. Go see Nancy or Jennifer. You can also try Betsy but I have never cliniced with her.

  5. Sounds like a great plan, I may be irked most days when my trainer just doesn't show up but I do think more and work harder to make sure my horse is getting what he needs.

  6. i love riding with different trainers - it's always great to get different view points on the same issues. one trainer might be very technical and theory-driven, and another might have more of a 'get it done' attitude, and somewhere between the two i've been able to figure out how to (usually, for the most part, sometimes) ride my damn horse.... lol but seriously, yay for more dressage shows!!!

  7. I've been having to work on thinking independently especially when I'm working alone. I was just sort of throwing my hands in the air and hoping that things would go well. Now I've been pushing for what I want and although it's not always smooth I'm making more progress on my own.

  8. This sounds like a wicked game plan! I definitely struggle with thinking independently sometimes. :)