Monday, December 7, 2015

One Year of Dressage!

I meant to do this wrap up a year to the date from moving to our current barn (11/24) and that didn't happen. Instead you're getting it more or less a year after our first-ever dressage lesson (12/6ish).

Here's an honest trotting shot from our first-ever legit dressage lesson. In the post, I talked about how Courage had a short, quick stride (thanks to me), just dropped his neck at the withers, and took multiple laps of the arena to do a single decent transition from walk to trot. At this point, the plan was to do dressage for three months, then go back to jumper land in the spring.

December 2014
 December actually brought nicer weather and more lessons. Courage and I were making great, if elementary, progress. Our next shot in in another lesson. You can see Courage is taking much better strides and starting to go forward. He's pretty well on the forehand, but he's at least thinking about the contact, even if that thought process=gaping mouth. Still in jump tack, still aiming for jumper land.
December 2014
Don't worry--I'm not going to make you look at a trot picture from EVERY SINGLE MONTH (not today, at least). If we fast forward a year, we have this:

It's been a long, personal struggle, but Courage and I are committed to dressage. It's a great fit for us right now. We've spent the year doing lessons and clinics, plus getting out and showing in pursuit of a more broke, less-green horse. We did decently at training level for the year and have now doubled down in pursuit of first level next spring. This shot is Courage in a clinic a couple weeks back. I just love the engagement and connection he's showing.

November 2015
 And then this is less spectacular, but it's me riding on my own in the almost-dark at the end of the month. Courage has really starting accepting the contact and letting me ride him. We've switched over to dressage tack, my position has started changing for the better, his neck is developing like whoa, and GODDAMN look at the difference in his ass(/topline).
November 2015
We have been through a lot together in the last year. Courage is turning into a really awesome horse, I'm learning things I never knew about dressage, and I'm excited for our goals together.

More than that though, I love what this year has done for our relationship. After everything this spring, we finally reached an accord. Courage is really MY horse now. I don't threaten to sell him after another giant spook at whatever-it-is this time--I just laugh at his antics and put him back to work. I've had a crappy history as an adult with horses in which the longest I've had any creature is 3 years.

I'm looking forward to blowing that number out of the water with this little guy. <3


14 comments:

  1. Here's to many more years of progress and learning :)

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  2. You guys have come so far. I can't wait to see what the next year holds.

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  3. He looks great and your position is really coming along. Nice progress in a year!

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  4. 2015 officially not for sale! You go Courage! ;) great progression shits!

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  5. You guys have really made amazing strides in the last year. Hard work pays off soooo much!

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  6. He now looks like a sexy dressage horse instead of just cute OTTB

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  7. I tell people all these things about dressage all the time, but nobody ever believes it until they do it. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on your one year milestone!

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  8. Yay! You guys have made so much progress! Congrats!

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  9. WOW what a huge change!! He's looking amazing these days :)

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  10. You have had a heck of year, but it's clear how much your relationship has grown from it. Here's to many more!

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  11. A year of hard work to be proud of. You really are bringing him along so well.

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