Positivity Week Day 3: More Engagement

showing first level dressage

Building a swankier trot, not easy, right?

Gray mare has never had a super impressive trot.  But, it’s super comfortable!  And, a few steps here and there, there’s even that little bit more engagement from behind.

more engagement in trot

We don’t really get there during every ride, but sometimes, she can feel connected and capable for a few steps!  Never mind that it sometimes takes days to get back to the same thing.

hindlegs reaching under in trot

She qualified for the CDS RAAC at First Level, (The California North is happening next week.) but I don’t have a way to get her there to strut her stuff.

The positive spin – we’ll make it our own division at a schooling show instead.  Today!  (First Level – Imaginary RAAC division.  Open to all.)

Already on our way!  Entirely stress free, we’re taking three horses, having a good time.  Maybe I’ll go rogue – braid free, no jacket!  Immorality…

showing first level dressage

Positivity Week Day 1: Better Walk

from free walk to working walk

Here we go!

The rules for this week again:  Only positive observations about the horse or rider.  Whether writing or reading.  Very easy concept.  Not easy for me to pull off 🙂 biggest self-critic ever.

First out of the Positivity posts We’ve got a better walk!

She’d feel like wavering around, or alternating with transmission/engine problem half-stops for the first year.  Weird looking gait, crazy amount of weird evasions.  And, well, not very confidence building since if you don’t even have the walk right there’s a lot of work to do.

Now, coming back from free walk to working walk sometimes happen with minimal fuss.

from free walk to working walk

She can stay soft in a demi stretch for a few steps here and there.  And she’s growing a beautiful neck!

dressage blog


Free walk on the diagonal – if I keep her happy there, she can earn an 8.5!  Maybe not at second level, but we’ll focus on today.

free walk on to diagonal


Happy, an understatement, about these simple improvements in the walk!  They don’t happen every time, or for very long, but the possibility is there.  Have a great rest of your horse week!

free walk on diagonal

Hating On The Short Stirrups But Still A Great Ride

schooling dressage on young horse

Here we go! – A whole slew of pictures.

Back from vacation.  Hers:  in pasture.  Mine:  in the cool mountains.  Now back for more long weeks of hot summer.

Definitely didn’t expect her to go as well as where we left off (in the shots below.)  But she was even better!

Go Gray Mare!  Usually, rides after some time off are awkward and sort of “rusty.”  This time – happiest horse to date.

schooling dressage

young horse schooling dressage

schooling dressage on young horse

Still working on riding, and straightening her, from the right outside rein when tracking left.  It’s getting a bit better.

canter through corner


The less overbent to the inside, the better!  It’s been hard to decide just the right amount, but we’re getting there.  Her specialty is to immediately shut down if she feels “clamped down on” in any way – I’m working hard on resetting my own riding to be more open, or however you’d describe it.

trotting with young horse


Something as easy as a canter diagonal has been a struggle.  Although not a hot horse at all, she can get rushy and flailing there, and like many young horses just flop on her forehand.

So happy with her here, staying balanced and with me!

schooling canter diagonal

staying balanced in canter on diagonal

That’s all from this crew today!

dressage with young horse
Special Theme next week! Come back to see what it’s all about!

More Schooling Pictures. Wanna See Them?

horse cantering with poll up

Got a lot of pictures from a ride.

It feels, well, almost fake to post them.  The site is all about showing things as they are – for real.  Honestly – most parts of the riding session is not all this smooth and happy.  (Surprise!  Yeah, no surprise.)

happy riding


Mostly, she’s fuzzy and tweaky like this.

horse unsteady in contact


Posting more good shots next time anyway!    It’s all about small improvements, and she’s trying so much harder than a year ago!horse cantering with poll up

Another Warmup, After The Warmup?.. Getting To The Good Part Of The Ride

summer riding

It’s taking too long!

After the walk warmup, and trot in both directions, we’re still not ready to work.  Of course super common with a young, average horse, but about now, we should be where we can get to the “good part” of the ride much sooner.

goode rider iconic fit breeches

dressage on a dime 2017

(You haven’t seen all the strange fussing around the first 25 minutes or more, so I’ll point out that this is from the good part of the ride.  Humbling.  Still, she looks great when she gets there!)

The best reward for her would be to do something really good, and just ending it there!  With a short ride.

dressage blog 2017

bad mane cut on horse
#GirlProblems When your mane looks like a mullet…

But we take long to get to the 10 minutes of Good Work, so, the 25 minute ride never happens.

Tell you when it does!  (You know, when there’s nothing else to look at and she just comes in really focused.  One day!)

breeches from goode rider


Her favorite – hanging out, standing around, petting.  Would make the best therapy horse ever!

gray dressage horse

Go Gray Mare!

summer riding

Identifying Your Training Issues – And Comping Up With A Plan!

engaging the inside hind on trot circle

Let’s do this again!

Last training update post in early June, Current Riding Struggles, with many pictures was a hit, so here we go with another one.

The purpose of this post is to highlight some, not all, of the holes in our training.  You can try this on your own too, looking at pictures and identifying some of them, and deciding what to focus on.  It really helps!

But first, check out Gray Mare, finally using her inside hind.  (At least sometimes.)  Cheers for improvement!

engaging the hind leg in canter transition


Today, shots of some of the “fuglies” I’m working on.  It’s one thing to know what’s right, a whole other thing to actually ride it, right..?

Welcome to chime in with anything in comments below.

Sometimes some sassiness.  Because she wants to have an opinion about many things.  Not super often, so this is more of an observation than anything.

bucking into canter


Riding from the outside rein.  Everybody knows this is the key, still, how hard is it to let go of relying on the inside rein!?!  Super hard for me, I forget to think about it as soon as other stuff crops up.  Maybe you’re like me, where one hand wants to do more of the work?

Here, releasing the right is a piece of cake.  The left though, in the other direction, keeps doing too much, and it’s harder to ride her off the outside, right, rein correctly.

riding from the outside rein


Staying centered over the back.  Even when preparing for something else.  Or, seriously, extra well when prepping for something.

Coming in to a loop of counter canter, I’m suddenly leaning in through the corner, “helping?”, I don’t know.  It’s not helping 🙂

leaning in to corners


Not falling apart in the corners.  Here’s where she’s gotten too strong in the canter on the short side, I’m no longer riding from the seat, she’s fallen off the outside rein, and we’re cowboying around from the sneaky left hand.

Excellent way to put the horse on the forehand and give up any chance of staying together like a team across the diagonal.    I put this picture here so I can look back at it one day and say “Hey, this is gone now.”

turning for the inside rein

Training goal:  Establish a truer connection on the right rein.  (Yay for setting a goal!)

Getting it right sometimes.  So much easier for her to do something, anything, coming out of the corner like this!

balanced in canter through corner


Blowing and snorting.  OK, maybe not a real issue, (healthy really.) but when she’s processing something, releasing and letting go, while cantering, this goes on.  And on.

Sometimes she does it so many times I’ll loose all focus and forget what we were working on.  (Her party trick, sneaky way to end canter and walk.)  Somebody asked from another post what I meant, and why I don’t ignore it, so here you go.   Classy seat!

blowing and snorting in canter


Engaging the inside hind more on the circle.  Forever issue for many.  For her, super challenging, she’s gotten away with not really doing it much, and she can get flustered there.  It will be so cool when she’ll mold her self around the inside aid, easily.  One day!

engaging the inside hind on trot circle

Anyone who wants to chime in on Training Issues are welcome!

Training, Going Back And Forth

gray half andalusian mare dressage

Riders, we all fall in that hole sometimes.

Improving some, and then almost without noticing it, going backwards in the training.  Several rides start cropping up where you’re wondering – just what happened?

Gray Azteca Mare Dressage
Miss Valiosa, all dapples and swirls in early spring, going really well here and there.

For a while we were working on other things but now, back to basics.  Simple transitions from free walk, to walk, (how hard can it be!?) to trot, canter, back to trot.

Without someone saying Neh, I’m going to counter flex, brace and push back, fall out, resist, move like an insect, or anything else creative.

gray half andalusian mare dressage

Going to buckle down on that for a couple of rides, bringing my first level horse back to where we were.  Let you know how it goes.



Tiny bit less noise from this blog lately, right?  Almost quiet.

There’s a tight, tight, schedule of, something else…  I’ve run out of hours.

Look in any category, and find wonderful writers with so much to say, well thought out words and intricate patterns of sentences laced just so, evoking just what they were intended to.

It takes a lot of patience to create, I’m sure.  An art.

Before running out of hours, I really enjoyed stumbling on posts laying it out there, sharing absolutely unique stories, heartbreak, struggles, and interesting twirls from lives in posts of so many various forms.  Inspiring or painful reads, fleshing themselves out in snippets available to any one up late having a hard time falling asleep.

This site keeps it Short and Straight, with horses and horse training, not all that personal. 

But you’ve been around for so long we’re becoming friends.  Thought I should tell you why it’s been a little more quiet.  Nothing illegal, sure.  Just many hours each week directed on something, else.

Unfaithfulness.  Fill you in this weekend.


learning to canter on the bit