Lesson Review: Dressage

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Really this lesson ended up being more like a training ride/lesson hybrid, but it was worth it all the same. Eliza got there just as I finished warming up, and offered to hop on Foster briefly. I always think it’s great when she gets on him, because he seems like such a tricky horse to ride and for me to explain, that sometimes I don’t know how to translate what I’m feeling into the right questions.

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Immediately, Eliza was surprised to feel how ‘stuck’ he is in his neck. I’ve been able to mask a lot of this tension with the way I ride him, but we really need to get to the meat of the issue before we can seriously consider collection and more advanced work, because the connection is not perfectly clear when he is bracing with the base of his neck.

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Other remarks included how wiggly he is, and maintaining activity behind instead of letting him shuffle his hind legs like he’s wont to do. While Foster just tends to be a bit crooked, the crookedness is pretty specifically located in his hind end, and he likes to throw his haunches right instead of put weight on his left hock. And as far as the activity goes, she was much more adamant about reminding him to be active with subtle whip cues, and when he was really coming through behind, it was very noticeable!

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In the last 10 minutes, I hopped back on and tried to get a feel for what she was discussing. I definitely saw the difference in the canter, and we worked on the timing of my whip aid to keep the canter ‘jumping’.

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So overall, an informative lesson slash training ride. Sometimes the perspective from the ground is just as valuable as being in the saddle! I’m probably going to ask Eliza to do a proper training ride on him sometime in the future. Do you do training rides? What do you like about them/maybe not like?

10 thoughts on “Lesson Review: Dressage

  1. My horse is crooked, any my instructor also has a problem seeing just how much from the ground. Getting her to get on was so valuable to her helping me straighten him out and loosen up his stiff neck/shoulders. Good luck! 🙂

  2. reading posts like this always make me want to get a trainer ride. i’m so new to dressage that my ‘feel’ is nearly non-existent. my mare already knows how to go well, but wants to be asked correctly (which is frequently beyond my coordination skillz)…

    it sounds like you already have many of Foster’s ‘issues’ identified – just needed a new perspective on how to fix them. glad it was productive!

    • While I think there’s an overall ‘correct’ way to dressage, and an ‘incorrect’ way, I very strongly think that every horse has a slightly different way of communicating. Sometimes a trainer can verablize that form of communication in a way that we can improve our feel the next time we get on.. I know that’s what happened to me!

      Good luck with your mare! The amazing thing about dressage is that when you ‘get’ that feel, the connection between you and your mare is going to be amazing! 😀

  3. That canter is FANCY! As for training rides, I think they are great! Sometimes I am just too personally involved in the horse to see the issues. Our big issue is creating the correct bend, usually to the left. Either I can’t see what I’m doing wrong, or I’m getting frustrated because I don’t know what to do. Insert training ride. Followed by lesson on HOW she got the issue corrected. O is in a better spot mentally, knowing what she should be doing, and I can get a feel for what is correct again.

  4. Always a fan of training rides! Sometimes it’s the catalyst you need 🙂 Though a bad rider/trainer would only do damage- but in your case you’ve got two great trainers that I would ride my horse anytime! Still so jealous that you get to ride with Doug Payne!!!!! Makes me want to move back to Raleigh…. hahaha

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