Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fancy Dressage Horse

I had an amazing ride earlier this, but didn't write about it until now.  Before riding, I spent a lot of time grooming and braiding Lucky to get her looking fancy, and even put the dressage saddle and bridle on her.  Laura felt that riding in a dressage saddle with knee blocks could help put my leg in the correct position.  As I have been doing since November, I rode without stirrups for a full lesson.  During the trot, I would alternate between the sitting and rising trot.

I started out by working on Lucky's rhythm at the walk.  It is my responsibility as the rider to set the rhythm, and it all beings at the walk.  There was a corner of the arena that had a puddle in it, so I had to be prepared to give her extra support to keep her going, for she wanted to slow down at the puddle.
Someone is looking fancy(it's not me).

Most of the lesson, I worked in a clover leaf pattern.  There were four cones set up with two parallel poles set in the middle, and I had circle the cones and go over or between the poles, depending on which direction I was going, of course.  I began at the walk.  At first, I did not go directly over the center of the poles. When I remembered to look at the center of poles only until Lucky was lined up, and then look ahead, I was more successful.

Also, per usual, Lucky had the most difficultly going right and often cut the circle in.  This did not set me up for making a straight line on the poles.  However, when I applied inside leg, lifted my inside hand, and looked directly where I wanted her to go, Lucky made a big, wide circle and hit the pole in the dead center.  This exercise requires a great deal of patience.  There is so much to think about because it requires a coordination of every single aid.
She is beginning to be in the right place for trotting here.

I took break from the exercise for a while to trot along the rail.  I did not just fro right off whenever I wanted to.  Before making a transition, I made sure that Lucky was in front of my leg by asking her to walk more quickly. Only once she was paying attention did I ask her to trot.  Some of the trots she did that day were simply amazing.  I could feel her stretching down and using her back, bounding as she trotted.  During the sitting trot a few times, I even felt like I was really with her.  I was not just sitting on her back trying to balance.  I felt like my hips were moving and melting with the motion of her back.  It was amazing.

I then did the clover leaf pattern at the trot, alternating between trotting and walking as I rode the exercise.  Sometimes, I only trotted for the straight line between the cones, walked a circle, then trotted again.  Other times I trotted around circle and then walked, or trotted for a a bit longer.  Laura was constantly changing it up.
My position is awful her, but look at roundness and stretching.

To finish a great lesson, I worked on cantering.  I started to the left, because Lucky trots best that direction.  Like when I began trotting, I started by making sure that Lucky was in front of my leg.  I trotted for a few strides, then walked, then trotted again, working several transitions before finally asking for the canter.  Lucky bounded right off.  I cantered for a few strides to begin with, but the next time, I cantered an entire lap.  That day, I cantered the best I have ever cantered, which is why Laura let me canter so long.  I was really with her as she cantered.  It was an incredible feeling.  Then, I cantered to the right with the same success. To finish off, I went for a trail ride in the empty pasture.


  1. what a great lesson - those all sound like challenging yet important exercises. it's so had for me to be patient about establishing a good walk before i transition upwards... but the next gait is always better when i take the time to get the walk right... (also i'm still super impressed that you do your entire lessons without stirrups!)

    1. It can be difficult to establish a good walk, but it certainly is worth it when I do! Also, thanks. It can be tough riding without stirrups for extended periods of time, but I am getting used to it. My cantering has improved since I started riding without stirrups.

  2. I miss the days when I was young enough to do an entire lesson without stirrups and not feel like I was going to keel over. Lucky is adorable and you are sure learning a lot. It sounds like a great lesson. Good job!

  3. I'm really impressed that you're still riding without stirrups. That's great.

  4. You rock girl! A whole ride without stirrups!!


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