Friday, June 29, 2012

"Dressage Lite"

P2 looks embarrassed about her new browband, but I think she looks pretty...
 S often refers to Training Level dressage work as "Dressage Lite" (or as like I to say, Steering Wheel, Gas, Brakes).  Since that's the extent of what I'm working to "show" with, about once a week we have a Dressage Lite lesson and just focus on the basic-basics.  This is especially difficult for P2 if we're outside and working in the terrifyingly scary end of the arena.

But since there seems to be a terrifyingly scary end of the arena at our little schooling show, what a brilliant opportunity to work on having the mare mind her manners, even when being forced to walk/trot/canter past terrifying things.

P2 has been warming up really nicely.  S grabbed a quick clip of our loosey-goosey serpentines, where I just work on switching the bend (lots), and asking Prairie for little increases and decreases in the power and length of her stride.  It seems to really get her dialed in well and sensitive to my aids.

Not too shabby (for us).  I'm keeping my hip angle open, and if I would just look up I might even have my shoulders back and softer...  But low and behold, when I sit taller, the mare ends up lighter and pushes a bit more from behind... who knew.

After working on precision of our transitions, S started putting together mini "Dressage Lite" patterns for us to string together.  Notably making use of the "scary end" and daring to ask for a canter transition at "C" right where Prairie really (really, really) wants to check out and just run away.  This is particularly useful since the First Level 1 test has it's second canter transition at C, right in front of the dreaded horse eating Judge's booth.

The first few times we ran through it, we struggled with getting a clean, crisp transition at C, but after schooling a few extra circles and running through S's pattern 4 times, we ended up with a decent performance.  S grabbed a quick clip of our last run through.  She missed the final canter transition (she must have actually been coaching us), but you can see P2 doing a better job of staying light through her 10m serpentine, a nice, quick right lead transition, a decent downward transition across the diagonal, and a not totally tragic left lead canter at the very end (although it's pretty downhill and heavy). 

I'll get out and school P2 outside again today (if the rain holds off) but then I won't see the mare until the day before our next show.  So who knows!


  1. Just thought id say hello folks. Richard

  2. I love the new browband! It's gorgeous.

  3. The new browband is cute!!

    Are you really looking down? It's hard to tell on the video. I'm bad about it too, only I'm usually watching my hands or the horse's shoulders so I'm looking really down. My trainer always told me to look through the horse's ears or to look to where I'm going. If I'm on a twenty meter circle she wanted me to focus on cones set at the quarters. Or if you're going across the diagonal focus on where you meet the wall again. Don't know if that will help or not. If it's really bad you could always try looking at the tops of the trees LOL! :D Good luck at the show!


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