Dressage Clinic Recap

Stop leaning forward!

Stop leaning forward!

Welp, we did the clinic! After attacking the wind puff with some DMSO based cream, the heat magically vanished and the worry-wort inside me took a deep breath of relief. We got in maybe one decent dressage schooling and then clinic day was upon us!

I definitely cut my warm up time short (let’s be serious- what warm up time?) by arriving a mere 10 minutes before my scheduled ride (um, it was Rolex XC day!), but this gave us a good opportunity to talk to Brendan about what’s been going on or not with Foster. I was hoping to get some confirmation of the lateral work we’ve been working on this winter, but it seems we had bigger fish to fry- the dreaded under neck.

Hot mess moment, displaying his fabulous under neck muscle

Hot mess moment, displaying his fabulous under neck muscle

After our lesson last year, I worked really hard to get this muscle softer and encourage Foster to use his bum to balance himself instead- then things fell apart a bit. Brendan wanted to see Foster go in a much deeper frame with his nose just in front of the point of his shoulder. We struggled for quite some time, and about half way through I felt some of the tension in his back melt away and he gave in to the new way of going.

Finally getting his head lower (also, let's ignore how low my hands are and how big my butt looks in this pic!)

Finally getting his head lower (also, let’s ignore how low my hands are and how big my butt looks in this pic!)

While working on getting him deeper (and deeper and deeper), we tried the canter transitions, again asking him to stay round without popping up in front. Mostly we were unsuccessful, but there were definitely a couple attempts that were close. I think it’s safe to say Foster is finally fit enough to do this correctly, and I will be working hard on this in the coming weeks!

Working on roundness in the canter

Working on roundness in the canter

Lastly, Brendan got us focusing on riding forward and backward within the working trot. This will help us get closer to true lengthenings, although Brendan confirmed what myself (and Eliza, from our last lesson) thought, which is that he may never have a true, exuberant lengthening. If the trade off is a great brain, but no lengthening, I’ll take that trade any day!

Pushing forward within working trot

Pushing forward within working trot

All in all, a great lesson and it was really interesting to watch the video (props to A) afterwards. A great lesson, even if I felt like I could not ride through most of the lesson, and basic steering flew out the window when I was concentrating on Foster so much! I was having some serious issues with my jods sticking to the saddle (and causing the extra bit of the stirrup leather to bunch up underneath my leg) and with the excess of reins getting in my way constantly. New reins will be in our future I think, as this has happened a lot recently as I ride with a shorter rein! Otherwise though, we have some serious work to do, and I am thankful for the opportunity to squeeze in this much needed dressage lesson!

A video clip from the lesson:

In other pony news, Foster has pulled a shoe. And sometime this week I need to fit in a jump school, to get ready for our first ‘big’ Novice at CHP on the 11th! Gosh, it’s coming up fast!

Good pony!

Good pony!


6 thoughts on “Dressage Clinic Recap

  1. sounds like my clinic with kofford… every time he said “take him deeper! DEEPER!” I about LOST it. (maturity level is high…lol). But really even though it was kind of a “fight” at first, it really did end up loosening up wiz in a way that hadn’t happened by me just letting him trot around on a loose rein. Now he’s quicker and quicker to ‘give’ instead of fight, and he’s becoming a much more ’round’ horse because of it. Those dang canter transitions though, they’ll be the death of us… @_@ Foster looks great though, glad you had an instructive clinic!

    • I remember that about Jim, too! Lucky for me, he hopped on before my lesson and had that fight for me. But with Foster and Brendan, I had to win the battle myself! You really can feel a difference when they are super round- I think Foster fakes it a little sometimes and when he’s truly ‘deep’ his back just pushes me out of the saddle!

  2. Pingback: 2014 Accomplishments Part I: The Horse | A House on a Hill

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