Tuesday, April 21, 2015


So the other day, Alyssa offered to come out and take pictures for me. Courage and I haven't been doing much to excite in terms of jumping lately and I wanted a progress check on the dressage.

We did a solid warm up, then ran through our first-ever dressage test (that I made up).

working trot
I was trying so hard. I had my eyes up and my body up and I was sitting up straight and I was REALLY happy with how my horse was going.

stretchy trot
Courage was soft and rateable and rideable and comfortable. He had no shadow of an issue with turning right (huzzah!) and was just lovely.

I was really, really happy with my ride.

And then I went home and saw the pictures.

And omg.

Horse= A+, Self=WTF
There are some really lovely shots of Courage. He's progressing really well and I couldn't be prouder of him. I see him changing. I feel him starting to get it.

I'm so happy about that.

But I look through all the pictures of myself actually riding...

And I'm not impressed. WHAT AM I EVEN DOING.

I don't know. I can't explain how it is I think my horse will go better if I tip forward with my hands in my lap. I don't know why I think if I push my heels up and toes out and put my tone-less calf on his side, that ANYTHING will happen.

best shot
I guess I can explain why when I overuse my inside rein how that hinders him from working correctly, but hasn't seemed to help me fix it all that much.

For us to advance, I need to get stronger on my outside aids both directions. And shorten my reins to get my hands out of my lap. AND SIT UP. And get my ass under me.

AND THEN like, maybe learn how to dressage.

halt, salute. mic drop.
So I'm very understandably frustrated with myself for doing the same things wrong I always do and have always done.

And then I get this nice note from a fancy (and kind) (and expensive) local trainer, inviting me to participate in a cool clinic.

It's $$$.

It's in two weeks.

I can (just barely) afford it if I do no shows next month.

My dressage trainer and boarding friends have nothing but good things to say about the clinician.

So who is it with?


picture kypped from internet
I'm a little bit freaking out right now.


I realize clinics are all about learning and I (obviously) need all the help I can get.


Cue panic.


  1. So exciting!! You will learn SO much.

  2. What a fantastic opportunity! Soak it all in :)

  3. super exciting about the clinic!! and yea i know exactly what you mean about feeling like you're riding like a dressage master, then looking at pictures and kinda having your day ruined... such a bummer! Courage looks great tho :)

  4. I recently had the same feeling - felt like I was a jumping master and then saw the pictures and nearly cried :(. BUT YAY FOR CLINICS! You're going to learn so much!

  5. OOOOOOH so exciting!

    Also- if you want to fix your hands in your lap, have a friend yell at you to stop playing with yourself. Worked for me! ;)

    1. On a similar front, I used to have a shoulder-hunching, tipping tendency. That got fixed my a trainer continually yelling at me "point one boob east, and one west!" Had another one tell me "use your headlights!" and threatened to strap flashlights to my rack!

  6. What a great opportunity! You guys look fantastic in your photos!

  7. I can so relate to this. I have videos from the show this weekend that I haven't even watched yet because I'm pretty happy with how I rode right now and I know that will immediately change when I watch them. Right now I'm in my bubble.

    Also, that "best shot" is wonderful. Cling to that one. You can do it, now you just have to do it more often. And then do it all the time. (I have yet to see a picture of myself where I say "there, that's what I should be doing.")

    Also I am SO happy you're doing this clinic because you're going to blog the $%*# out of it. It will be just like I'm there.

  8. 1) Your horse looks freaking amazing. Love the working trot pic.
    2) You are waaaay too hard on yourself! Besides, no one is noticing you, we are all staring at your awesome horse beast.

    3) Clinic = aweesome!!!!!!! I have never ridden in one. I would be pooping my pants :) I bet you learn all kinds of cool things!

    Bribe your friends & loved ones to take clinic pics for us!!!

  9. Wow! Great opportunity. I guess if you are going to panic...just do it while sitting up and with your bum in the saddle, and you should be golden. Can't wait to hear all about the clinic...and hopefully see some photos taken by Alyssa ;)

  10. Whoop! You guys look fantastic!! Have a blast at the clinic, I'm sure you will have tons of great takeaways. And hello-clinics mean dress up pony. Automatic win.

  11. Hands in the lap, that is my current struggle. One step at a time. And you did have nice moments, I'm sure, that just didn't get captured soon enough. They will get longer and then it will be easier for friends to snap pics of them

    I'm excited to hear about your clinic!!

  12. Your'e being too hard on yourself! Clinic sounds fun. Do dat.

  13. Yay!!! So excited to hear about the clinic. You both look great, good luck!

  14. I always rode hunters or eventers but when I was in my thirty's I switched to dressage (who'da thunk?) and ended up loving it (jumping is still a thrill). The hardest part was for me to sit up straight and I think it is that way for a lot of people, so don't be hard on yourself but keep working hard. I know you read DressageCurmudgeon. Just remember what she says about people who ride with their hands in their laps. That cured me of that problem. lol Let me know if you don't remember what she said. You are making great progress and your horse is lucky to have you. You will LOVE the clinic.

  15. If I fly up there with Paddy can I have your spot HUHUHCANNIHUHPLEASE?

  16. Kottas did a clinic here a couple of weeks ago - way cool!! You'll have a great time!

    Remember - chin and eyes up. That's the one thing I learned from Attila that has made all the difference in the world: don't look at your horse's neck or at your hands. Look where you're going. Ride what the horse gives you instead of focusing on putting his neck somewhere you can see it. I catch myself doing this all the time and I hear Attila's voice in my head: "Look ahp!" :)

    You will indeed kick ass at the clinic. Go with the intent to learn and you will! :) Rock on!

  17. Yay clinic will be fun, and you'll ride better because you will be paying attention. Pay Alyssa whatever she asks for to get lots of pics and video for us vicarious attendees lol

  18. EEEE you are going to have the greatest time! Absolutely worth it!!!

  19. 1) I am so incredibly jealous that you get to ride with Kottas! Holy cow!!!!!! You must post many photos and information. Your readers demand it!!!
    2) These are some of the best photos I have seen of you and Courage EVER. I Am IN LOVE with that first canter photo. How balanced and lovely! All the photos are so nice. You are way too hard on yourself! No one is perfect. I think maybe Steffen Peters has moments when he is not perfect. Possibly. :)

  20. I sure hope we get like an entire month of pictures and videos of this! AH! That's so exciting! And you guys are looking pretty fantastic btw.

  21. =D great!!! I love clinics because I audit all day before and after my ride and get so much valuable info - you'll come home with a toolkit full of new exercises and mantras to help you.

  22. I am drooling over your horse! All the pics are gorgeous! Enjoy the clinic. :)

  23. Wow! What an opportunity! Congrats!

  24. These photos are fab - Lord, wait till you see the ones I shared today lolz...now those are some poor rider shots!
    Clinic sounds awesome & I CANNOT wait to hear all about it ☺

  25. Ha I do the same thing. Feel great about myself then see myself in pictures. Why does tipping forward feel like sitting up straight? Why? NO COMPRENDE!! I too looked at my pics from last weekend and it was glaringly obvious how I'm throwing away my contact. I need shorter reins and MORE contact with MORE leg to encourage him to be pushing through (all while being soft and giving, sigh #ridingcontradictions...). My thoughts were reaffirmed in my lesson. So, I feel you.

    Have fun at the clinic!!!

  26. Ha I do the same thing. Feel great about myself then see myself in pictures. Why does tipping forward feel like sitting up straight? Why? NO COMPRENDE!! I too looked at my pics from last weekend and it was glaringly obvious how I'm throwing away my contact. I need shorter reins and MORE contact with MORE leg to encourage him to be pushing through (all while being soft and giving, sigh #ridingcontradictions...). My thoughts were reaffirmed in my lesson. So, I feel you.

    Have fun at the clinic!!!

  27. Hands in lap? Use a neck strap. Hold it with your reins. Problem = solved. Of course, it does somewhat limit your ability to mitigate horse tantrums, but at least your hands are up! ;)


    Your position is coming along just fine. If you need proof of that, look at how nicely Courage is coming along. Positional fixes happen just a slowly as horse training. One day, you'll look up and go, "Holy shitsnacks. I'm sitting up. My seatbones are on. I can control my legs without moving my seat. I can put my spur on without lifting my knee into my face. And my hands are up and forward and encouraging good contact. WHO THE F AM I?!" In the meantime, I like this article: http://www.horsecollaborative.com/sitting-horse-balance/ It broke down positional connections in a way I could grasp and remember while riding. It made a HUGE difference in the development of my seat (and still does!)

    1. Here's my post on the article, http://guineaforaguinness.blogspot.com/2014/06/pesky-plateau-and-positional-pressure.html

  28. Most the time when I look at pictures of myself riding I think WTF are you doing!!


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