1 Second Motivation Before Mounting Up

boy leading horse

Quick.  Take a peek at one of your pictures where things are just right!

Because there are days where some of us might feel, well, as if we’re just never going to get anywhere with this whole thing.

Just imagining that poky feeling in the canter.  Sort of 4 beat – ‘Hey, are the hocks even moving, or are we just stabbing the ground…?”

Enough to make things look sort of dull.  Before even mounting up.

That’s where a little power picture can come in! 

collecting the canter

A quick glance at a moment where things feel pretty good, pretty up, pretty together.  I like this one!

Try it before the next ride!

boy leading horse
Stinkerbelle & her friend.

What’s your 1 second tip?!

That Wasn’t Really Fair To Her

dressage on a dime 2018

Those bucking pictures earlier, last week…

She deserves a better reputation than that.  (But Hey, it would help if you’d behave under saddle most days too!)

We’ve had some lovely moments during rides.  Always toward the end.  She never comes out ready to give anything for free.  First, we negotiate, then, she’ll consider doing something more productive.

dressage with gray horse

She’ll tolerate absolutely no bullying.  Riding her like that will make her shut down immediately.  Instead, she has to want to do it.  Which she sometimes does.  Look how cute and straight she can be!

a horse for elinor 2018

Walking pirouettes happen too now, but you better just think it, not come with some ugly aid.  She feels staying round throughout all those steps is overkill though, so she’s not ready to show it off just yet.

Gray mare, going.

dressage on a dime 2018

Monday Morning

gray horse in cavesson with flash

Just two days off.

Can’t wait to get out there to see her again!   That’s what just a couple of days off will do.  Good stuff!

On Mondays she’ll sometimes pop her head up, all the way out there in pasture, when I come in with the quiet hybrid.  She knows what’s up.

– “Yay, my servant is here!”

gray horse in cavesson with flash

Happy to have her.  Growing respect for this mare, with her peculiar ways.  Do it just right, sitting square, and she’ll sometimes let me access her back and she’ll get very sensitive, almost hot, accepting only small aids.  It’s a taste of what I think she really could be.  I just need to catch up!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Lots of stuff to say this week.  Kind of unusual.  Buckle down!

Some Days – Better Than Others

Elinor Yee

Here she is again, lovely.

As promised on Wednesday – more schooling with Slick Silver.


dressage trot with young horse


canter with gray mare

A little softer, just a little easier, yay!

horse rounding the back in canter

Afterward, I butchered her mane.  Budget boy-cut style.  Mildly awkward.  February will be better again…

Elinor Yee


Waited over 3 years for her to come around…  Now that she’s here, better figure out how to make her want to stay.

Better Saddle Fit – Wider Saddle, Shorter Saddle, Or No Half Pad

riding without half pad

Without eyes on the ground very often, pictures can really help, with a lot of things!

Every time there’s some new shots I look, wishfully, for any small sign that she’s working more loose, more supple, more bettah’ than last time.

Staring at the hind.  To see if it looks like it’s working more.  The lumbar area.  The entire back.  Fretting there could be something in the work bothering her, physically.

She has the shortest, steepest sloped hindend ever.  Getting anything other than what I call a” duck trot” has been super hard, and if the saddle is even just a tad too narrow she won’t even try it.

Around December, I got stuck on worrying about too long saddle panels – where the saddle is extending too far back.  With a short backed horse, it can easily happen.

But her saddle, when checking, and double checking in the cross ties, isn’t too long.  Still.  There seemed to be something more to make the canter easier for her…

She needed more room at the shoulders.  The awesome Mattes half pad was just taking up too much space.  Or not?  Only way to be sure – experiment back and forth over many rides between the Mattes, the slimmer Thinline, and one without shims.

mattes pad taking up too much space
With the Mattes pad, no shims.

Riding with the slimmer fitting Thinline Trifecta felt better for her.  Couldn’t tell if removing the 1 mm thin shim made a difference for the shoulder.

thinline trifecta taking up too much space
With the Thinline Trifecta, no shims.


Finally deciding that the Trifecta had to go, too.  She needed the extra width! Without any half pad she felt the best.

riding without half pad

Keeping an eye on her topline if it changes back to more narrow later on.  Probably not…

Trying to figure out how our biomechanics work together, the up and the down stride of the canter has been the trickiest.  She won’t give anything if bothered at all, so riding her means to help as much as can with everything.

You look at this too, right?

Constantly searching for a way to ride more effortlessly…


That was a lot of you who had rider position stuff to hate on last week…  And horse issues.  Makes me feel in good company, so thank you!

Riding Troubles – Free For All

dressage horse stretching on circle

A bunch of pictures where the horse looks Game On…

With stuff looking alright.  What’s fun with that, if it only lasts a few moments here and there..?

Today is Training Trouble Day!

Plenty of issues going on over here, wasn’t hard to pick some!  Come on, share your most pressing riding issues.  If anything, just to cheer me up.  🙂  I’ll go first!

She’s still very unsteady in the connection.

We’ll be going along nice, smooth, focused and together, and then tweeeeek!  She’ll shorten, stiffen, and wobble her neck.

twisted neck in dressage

Or, she can do a short, beautiful half 10 meter radius in canter, only to have major steering troubles on a 20.  Keeps you on your toes for sure.

dressage horse over bending to the stiff side
She’s still very wobbly. But in a stiff way. Like riding a frozen seal. Never rode one, but I imagine that’s what it would feel like.

Neck bulges out when going left, and does tweaky things at the poll when going right. 

Common for many horses to have the more difficult side on the right (which is a sign that they need to be able to stretch out the left side more.), but who’d think it would take this long to work through it.

Next, some new random spooking.

not leaning forward when spooking
More forward horse – more on the aids – more reactivity. At least in her case. So spooks happen some more.

Along with interesting naughtiness.

horse bucking from legs too far back

Spookiness by entire entrance of arena – didn’t happen the first month.  Ugly over-bending to the inside, sometimes the only way to get through there…

bending away from spookiy objects

Random piloting errors. 

This is coming on to the centerline…  Or more, “How not to come on to the centerline.”  I get sloppy in preparing, and then she’ll come off the outside rein.  This happens a lot when training on my own too much.

how not to steer onto center line


Lastly, here’s something I’d like to fix.  Tomorrow would be good…  Or at least half way fix, because you never really “solve” anything, just learn to ride it better.

Anyway.  Coming in through a corner, she feels fantastic, smooth, and light.

riding straight before a corner

Only to completely wobble away a second later!

horse over bending through corners

Here, friends, is where we are a bit stuck for now.  It’s simply too much for her.  Riding it more conservative, she’ll do just fine, but when she works a little more up, we tend to get all over the place because she’s not exactly through and I’m not doing the right thing for her there.

Very tricky and I’m not helping at all.  Few months ago, there wasn’t any problems with the corners, so I know I’m the one creating it.


Okido, that’s all for today.  Ending with Miss Lovely being lovely.

dressage horse stretching on circle
Let’s hear something about your troubles!! 🙂

Pictures From Winter Schooling

riding through corners

That perfect horse –


Maybe it was waiting for you in the paddock all along.

dressage horse trotting

the perfect horse

What do I know.

riding through corners

turning up centerline with horse


Keeping it short today.  Since you’re being drowned in pictures.

gray horse cantering

grey horse in canter downstride


Couldn’t pick just three or so.

Yawn.  I know.

silver horse

collecting the canter


Love the Gray Machine for trying so hard.  For both of us!

working from behind in trot

a softer more engaged dressage trot


Kind of feels like you need at least some sort of payoff for putting up with all this and scrolling down through so many pics.

So here goes – a stirrup tip:  Try putting only light downward pressure in the stirrups.  It will keep the lower leg more still.

Genius.  That would have come in really handy.  Some 7 years ago or so 🙂