Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Flatwork, A Green Horse, A Tiny Indoor: Recipe for a Thinking Ride

A good moment
In addition to the puppy adventure and my non-dressaging on Saturday, I finally got a look at what Courage and I have been working on, ie going forward in a longer frame and getting comfortable there.

Parts of it were good. It really wasn't my best ride lately, mostly because it was our first time in an indoor in the rain and I was a little distracted. But still. It wasn't great.

Alyssa hops on. She also took all these pictures except this one.
Courage is getting so much more consistent in the contact and happier in that longer/lower frame, but the added challenge of an indoor is that he has to do all those things on smaller figures, and he wasn't quite getting it. It probably didn't help that I would get frustrated with him because I wanted him to understand it already.It's the same thing we were already doing, JUST LOTS HARDER OK?

It was really fun to watch Alyssa tool around on Courage though. She has this way of riding nicely forward and never pulling or getting off balance, and he loves it.

exciting walking pic

I made a new plan on Monday. Courage and I started out on a loose rein and did some basic lateral exercises at the walk. Turn on the haunches both ways, turn on the forehand both ways, and leg yield down the wall.

I wanted him responsive to my leg, so we kept at it until he understood.

Then we went forward.

Just like this pic
I literally had one hand on the buckle (and occasionally the neck strap, as the situation warranted) and I let Courage trot forward. We went both directions and the longer we went, the more he relaxed his topline and dropped his poll.

Now I had him responsive and forward.

Once he was comfortable there, making big laps around the arena, I added contact. I focused on maintaining his lower frame and the quality of his gait as I added in 20 meter circles.

we actually didn't canter
Then figure eights.

Then walk/trot/walk transitions.

Instead of being frustrated with Courage for not being responsive enough to do a three loop serpentine in a small space, I focused on letting him be successful at something he CAN do.

Right now, I want him relaxed, forward, and straight. The stronger he gets in that default, the more buttons I'll be able to add. Things like cantering and simple changes and cooler lateral moves.

So yeah, it's not perfect. But you know what? When Courage really engages his hind end and softens his topline in a big forward trot, it is SO MUCH FUN.

We'll get there.

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  1. Way to ride the horse you have! Courage is going to be so fancy and flexy after his winter in the indoor.

  2. One thing I noticed that may help you is.... look up!!! :)

  3. Dressagze... frustrating riders for over 400 years. ;)

  4. His trot looks fantastic in those top 2 pics

  5. I must remember the same things with my Nancybelle. Good plan of attack there lady ☺

  6. It sounds like you had a great plan. That's awesome.

  7. Sounds like y'all are making a lot of progress!

  8. Yep!! So good to go back to what he can do, then re-approach what is more difficult.

  9. Yay progress! Love his clip btw

  10. indoors are always an exercise in precision... but so much better than the alternative lol. sounds like a good approach - good luck!

  11. Good for you recognizing the problem and going back to basics!!! Proud of you! You guys look awesome. I love the pictures. :-D


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