Riding what you’ve got

I am very grateful for riding, and for the years spent “horsing around.”

In an ideal world, I’d be riding some very nice horses by now, with balance and a lot of “natural ability.”  Since you surely live in the real world, just like me, you’ve probably guessed by now that any talented or “easy” horses aren’t exactly coming my way.

Probably not in yours either, no?

Take Cooper here and his multiple “issues”, or what ever we shall call them.  Today, focusing on his extreme tense tendency.  Bracing, holding back, curling under, pushing against his rider.

Ever optimistic, I thought I would have solved it by now.

Here’s his trademark “Neck Move.”  Not captivating.

Swan neck

Often so tense, until he can almost make himself into a Perfect Square.  We still carry on.

Square, bracing

Is this why we like dressage so much?  Trying to create something soft here and there, out of the impossible tight and resistant?  Never thought so.  Come on, wouldn’t it be just so much nicer to somehow “arrive” at something better?

Since that’s not going to happen, it will be all about continuing on.  Riding the horse that is here right now, and actually enjoying it.  Because this is fun.  Surely not pretty all the time!

More years spent horsing around!

Cooper relaxed

Still intending on bringing this tight little bullet to success at First Level.  Keep cheering us on from the sidelines.  There’s hope!

Cooper more relaxed

The Canter Chronicle: Green Horse, Part 3

Canter 3Yep, we’re still circling, cantering, and circusing.  Less circus now though.

My earlier posts on Crummy Canter have been very popular.  Happy to be of some entertainment, I give you; The Canter Chronicle:  Green Horse, Part 3.

The first post on this spectacle can be found here.  (Cantering Green Horse.)

And the second post here.  (Introducing Canter To Green Horse.)


Cooper works hard to understand the canter work.  Stuck for weeks trying to keep a decent canter coming down the long side, without losing it all.  Preferably in straightness.

Canter 2

Well, he can sort of do it now, so proud of this little guy.  Left lead, still stiff, but there.  Asking with the inside leg only works best.


Now, the transitions are better, he can keep the canter longer, sort of bend, and there’s no panic.  (OK we still panic, but he’s putting up with it.)

Almost there.  If I can do this, so can you.

All done

So, it should all take less than one year to get this part down.  Think I can do it?  Started the canter  with him in September.

Terribly Ugly Riding

Cooper pasture high

Cooper – Last week, a few days too many off poking around in a grassy pasture.

Thought we were way past this, Cooper.  A struggle, all over again.  And worse.  And what on earth has happened to the quiet, calm, mouth?

Discouraging ride.  Plenty of energy, but mainly directed inward, a tight ball with a lost outside shoulder and a tweak in the neck this way, a tweak in the poll that way.

Unresponsive to the leg, but sensitive at the same time.  Can’t blame him when I’m feeding into his stuff that badly.  We wrestled.  That’s not dressage…

Angry Appaloosa ball, irritated even more by ugly aids.  Not his fault.

Angry Appaloosa

At home, looking at pictures – all the multiple rider positioning faults were extremely clear.  Exasperated to see it’s still ALL the same faults.  Think I’m permanently tweaked…

This is such a difficult sport.  Apparently it’s going to be difficult, and unpleasing to the eye for a very long time for me.  I’m sure you’ve been there too.  Perhaps just not posting it for all to see on the Web…

A few, very few, good moments.  Sharing some split seconds here with you.  Seriously, these were the better moments.  The only ones.  All the rest, bad enough to make one want to go back to just grooming.

Finally relaxing a bit

An angry ball

Finally the correct lead

Marty, from MCDressage, set us off on a better course this week instead.  Had a MUCH better solo ride on Wednesday after the lesson.

I’m very lucky to have someone able to come out and work with me. Marty has been extremely generous with his time, never a rush.  Very grateful for this!

Because of course, the morning of your lesson; colts will break loose, buckets will magically empty upside down in stalls, or the outside water hose will freeze.  Or all simultaneously.