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We Are Flying Solo

January 1, 2011

Splish Splash, We're Taking A...Lesson

P came out yesterday to check on our dressage progress. Neither of us can stop remarking how different he is than the horse I sat on a year ago. With more spring in his trot and a lovely new ability to carry his weight on his hind end while cantering (WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THIS POSSIBLE??!), he is becoming a real pleasure to ride.

Of course, not all is sunshine and rainbows -- for nearly the entirety of the lesson, Mr. I-Woke-Up-On-The-Wrong-Side-Of-The-Pasture reminded us that the footing was sloppy and he was still a redhead after all and therefore still possessing of strong opinions about when one should (never) and should not (always) do dressage. I did my best to swallow my frustration, take deep breaths and work calmly through his fussing instead of resorting to my instinctual tactic to grit my teeth and fight him (ah yes, which always works out SO well).

We focused on using shoulder-in and leg yield to keep encouraging His Fussiness to engage his inside hind and step into the outside rein. Then we combined this with changes within the trot: compress to collected trot, quietly expand to medium trot, back to collected trot, then medium trot, then collected, then ask for some extended steps. As you can see, occasionally my requests get a wee bit overenthusiastic -- on our first attempt to extend down the long side, he goes all right, just not quite in the right gait... (I recommend full-screening it if you wan to see anything. Sorry the corners are cut off, the camera doesn't do wide-angle.)

So our homework: keep using the lateral work in the walk and trot to strengthen. He is only strong enough to carry his canter for about a lap and a half so far, so it's better to let him return to trot to rest, then do a bit more canter work, rather than try to force a tired canter. Start adding leg yields at the canter more often, then if we feel we have suppleness, canter some shoulder-in.


  1. AHHH what a pretty trot! Been following you for a while, I love to read about other eventers. I also love that your horses' tail is up too! everyone gives me crap for putting up Yankee's but it stays cleaner in winter that way. Also, wondering how you get youtube videos to the blog...i still havent figured it out and I have to use blogspots video upload thingy. Anyways, keepup the good work!

  2. sigh, I have such a looooong way to go.

  3. lh, you said you wanted a new project, LOL!

    check, thanks! I am not a hair nazi but I got tired of picking mud clods and sticks out of Solo's tail, so wrapped it went.

    To do youtube videos, just upload to a youtube account you create. Then under the video, click "share" and it will give you a blogger option and that will generate the embed code for you.

  4. That is awesome how far you guys have come over the last year!! Give me hope. Thanks for posting video.

  5. Thank you, Amy! It's a looong bumpy road, but man, is it educational. Always have hope -- that is the reason for this blog. If we can fumble our way there, anyone can.

  6. P seems like a great instructor and you and Redhead McFussPants look awesome!
    Aaaaahh, I am jealous. I have been trying to find a decent dressage instructor for a long time, but alas, there are none in Miami. :-( I need someone with a German accent to come yell at me!

  7. Thank you, Frizz! I had the German yell at me when I was a kid. I think I prefer P's sneaky way of slipping in progress when you are not looking.