Video Critique: Dressage

Over the weekend Ali kindly videoed me in lieu of having a lesson. While there is nothing that can take the place of professional advice, it was extremely helpful to have a visual on what our flatwork looks like. The video mostly speaks for itself, but here is a partial critique of myself anyways.

I found watching the video that I was surprised- a few things looked better that they felt, and others the opposite.

Our canter lengthenings leave me with the most frustration. If I feel him coming apart I tend to lower my hands, and I let my reins get long (something that seems to happen throughout the ride). I would also like to see a more precise transition from working to lengthened canter. In the future I think I will practice these after the lateral work to help him swing through his back and get the engine going.

Reins getting a little long in the trot, but happier here with my leg-hip-shoulder alignment

Reins getting a little long in the trot, but happy here with my leg-hip-shoulder alignment

This is better

This is better

The lateral work is better than I expected, though the challenge to keep him supple and maintain energy throughout the movements still remains. I am however very pleased to see on video how straight he is moving! Also with my position, my hands tend to be better at the trot but I think I could benefit from a more flexible elbow, shorter reins and lifting my hands slightly to maintain the bit-to-elbow connection. I left out the shoulder-in left in the main video, here it is below:

Leg Yield: Foster is mostly straight, me, not so much

Leg Yield: Foster is mostly straight, me, not so much

Stepping under in the Shoulder In

Stepping under in the Shoulder In

In general I will be focusing more on my elbows and trying to wrap my leg around his barrel more. Watching this also really makes me want to pursue getting my knee blocks adjusted to help me keep a longer leg without getting into a chair-seat. Plenty to work on, for Foster and myself!

Compare this to when I first got him- he’s growing up!

5 thoughts on “Video Critique: Dressage

  1. Wow! From comparing the videos he has come on tremendously! What a super horse! Overall, some lovely work going on there! You’ve already noticed what the slight improvement could be – your elbows. Just have a little more bend in them; this will help prevent “fixing” and allow Foster to feel more elasticated through the contact.

    If I may note, I noticed that at the start of the video your shoulders were quite tense and elbows were straight. A quick tip; during your warm up take a moment to stretch out your arms and shoulders by doing large circles (backwards and forwards) and then shrug a few times to release the tension. This will help open your shoulder blades and prevent the “straight arm lock” as I call it. This tip is small but ridiculously effective! I have this same problem due to an old injury and sometimes this causes a fair bit of resistance between the horse and I.

    I look forward to more updates of you and Foster!

    • Definitely great advice. I typically do some of the ‘shoulder shrugs’ before jumping because it helps me remember to keep my shoulders back (another work in progress) but I will definitely try incorporating it into our dressage warm up as well!

  2. Pingback: 2013 Accomplishments Part I: The Horse | A House on a Hill

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