Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Getting back to Dressage

Went to the barn yesterday and found this:

Argh. I hate foot damage.
Sent a picture to the farrier who promptly called me back (love my farrier) and assured me that as long as it stays superficial and he is comfortable, I don't need to worry.  Which he knows is a fruitless endeavor but it is cute how he tries to calm my crazy.

Since we got the go ahead to ride we did a quick ride last night and then tonight I had my first dressage lesson at the new barn.  I have been so busy getting my jumping form together that I haven't ridden in my dressage saddle in over a month.  Last night was a reminder of why we need to break out the black tack more often.

Our house is a very stressful environment.

Fawkes was pissy to my leg and kicked out several times.  And he was definitely not very forward.  Tonight was a little better, but not surprisingly the dressage trainer saw our flaws immediately.  I am not going to lie, I was nervous about riding for this trainer.  She is my old trainer's trainer, S judge, gold medalist and a whole bunch of other stuff that I barely even understand being merely a dressage dabbler.  Luckily, my nerves were unfounded; she was gracious, friendly, helpful, and professional.

She loves Thoroughbreds which is always a nice thing, and she liked Fawkes a lot.  Said he is a well put together horse who has nice gaits, rhythm, and a good attitude (HA! Time will show the other side of that temperamental coin).  Even without recent practice she mentioned that he stays relatively on the bit and steady in the contact, but is inherently lazy with his transitions and responsiveness to my leg.  Specifically my right leg.  So our homework there is to get him in front of my leg and moving off my right leg with some degree of urgency.

Seriously stressful
My list of things to work on was a bit longer, but still not terrible.  I need to:

  • Get my dressage seat back.  Crap, it took me way too long tonight to remember how to sit in that thing. 
  • Work while holding a dressage whip on my thigh to keep my right hand quiet.  See how Fawkes and I both struggle with our right sides? Isn't that special?  
  • Engage my core more, especially at canter.
  • Not accept a lackadaisical, when-Fawkes-gets-around to it response from my leg.  Ask nicely, then ask with correction, then ask nicely again the next time.  
  • More transitions.
Dressaging last fall.  Can I make that a verb? Yes, I sure can.

I can't afford to do as many dressage lessons as I would like, but this is really good to get me motivated and keep me honest.  Even if I can only do once or twice a month, lessons will hold me accountable to practice and progress.  And that will benefit both horse and human.


  1. Some dressage trainers/clinicians can be extremely intimidating. I think it's great that she likes thoroughbreds! It sounds like a great lesson!