Riding With Looser Contact

Experimenting a bit with Valiosa.

On her own, her movement works very well.  Not as great in canter, but it works.

Free lunging

Together though, we don’t exactly soar yet.

We’ve all been there, right(?) – on rides that are nothing like “Driving Miss Daisy”, more like Riding Miss Angry Bird.  Like this.

Angry Bird

At the beginning of each ride, she comes out with a freshness, then through the work, while she supples in the body, she’ll sometimes come to a contact I don’t like.  Too much.

So, here and there, I’ve focused on very light contact, letting her be responsible for her self more.


Just moments here and there.  An experiment.

The canter is not her strong gait at all.  We’ve been fumbling with it awkwardly for some time.  One day, she’ll find a good balance.  (Me too, please!)

Loose contact canter

OK, so these pictures are all from a different ride, but this is sort of what we had going on.  Of course, this goes completely opposite of real riding on contact, which is needed in dressage.  We’re just testing the waters some.

Loose Rein

Twisted Oaks has an instructor who comes out regularly and we’ve started taking some lessons with her.  Absolutely no clowning around like this then!  It’s really fun, and while there won’t be any frequent lessons, they will be regular.

Good fun!

11 thoughts on “Riding With Looser Contact

  1. Love what you are doing with her. Right now my coach has me riding in that magical middle-not loose but not on contact. My job is to ask her hind end to work and then Savvy will start to seek the bit. At that point I have to be hyper-aware and “cradle” the bit in her mouth. I have never ridden with this much awareness and the results are amazing!

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  2. I must admit I’m starting to learn a lot more about dressage from you. It really does require a great deal of patience.
    P.S. The last shot is really good. Ears forward, double V in the legs. Nice capture. 🙂


    1. Patience, yup, it simply goes hand in hand closely with dressage.
      It’s a sport so full of subtle nuances. To the uneducated eye, it can sometimes be dumbfounding to watch 5 or so rides, try to pick out the winner by lining them up 1 through 5, and then go look at the score board…
      The sport is all about expression, yes, but with elasticity, no resistance, and only sublte communication.

      I somtimes wonder if I’ll ever be on the right track 🙂

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      1. That is why I have a love/hate photographing dressage. In jumping it’s 4 or 5 shots per trip and your done. Dressage I take 50, 60 shots and am lucky if I get one or two out of the ride that are nice, let alone correct! 🙂

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  3. Training a young horse is both art and science. Don’t get discouraged–a lot of it is simply, well this didn’t work so let’s try something else. The worst thing you can do is keep drilling something that is not producing results in the hope that eventually it will. Listen to your horse 🙂

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    1. Us regular mortals, getting teary eyed. I love how she sets the tone for the performance right at 2 minutes coming down from extended trot. Such a magical pair!
      Also, extra kudos for NOT doing the dreaded and seemingly required, at these sort of performances, Spanish Walk, focusing on showing off the lightness and balance instead. I love this!


  4. I think she looks nice with the looser contact! I would much rather see that than a horse behind the vertical avoiding the contact. You should look up bit isolations from Linda Parelli. Not sure if that’s public or just for savvy club members, but I have a feeling it would do well for you!

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    1. Thank you!! I think she likes it too 🙂

      Although I know that throughout her education, she may momentarily become behind the vertical here and there later, it is something I REALLY try to avoid. I don’t want to go down that road…. If you follow modern sport dressage, you know that is not often the case…


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