Spring Schooling Update

Taking full advantage of some more forward!

She’s been fun to ride! Still twisty-and-resisty, but we work together in a whole different way now.

softer trot

It sank in one day that no one’s really going to show up and install any sort of shoulder in button. Or haunches in. Or any other button…

And no one’s going to really say if /when we’re ready for it either…

better hind leg in trot

So, on my own I’ve played with Valiosa a few times with it and she’s responding well. Experimenting – helps if you know how to train the horse to do it.

Well, details. Then back to hind-pushing-straight focus. (It’s hard!)

No pictures of that, but if she wants to go along, maybe another time.

straight in trot
Awesome mare!

Figured out a mistake – trying to introduce quarter turns in canter. She can do them, good actually, but our focus should be on going forward in canter.

crab canter

Love it when she can stay under the seat like this, true on the outside rein, but to be more “real” the canter has to be more forward. With the front hooves coming off the ground a little more 🙂

stronger hind end in canter

Valiosa says – Good luck with that, that’s exhausting, I canter how I canter

We’ll see how that goes this summer!

dressage with gray mare

more forward canter

Few days ago – a lesson for the first time in a month.

That’s all the excitement this time. So many pictures…
Still awake?

dressage with half andalusian mare

1 Second Motivation Before Mounting Up

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?!

Hard Work Should Pay Off

Doesn’t necessarily mean it will ALWAYS get better.

But most of the time, when enough energy, concentration, and enthusiasm is applied, things do get a little, well, improved.  In everything.  Right?

downstride of the canter

She can be absolutely embarrassingly difficult, then fantastic at the end.


This summer has felt like I’ve applied more than a fair share of sweat equity.  But really, if the pay off is a few seconds of absolute loveliness, who cares?!

riding in bad air quality

Inside shoulder in canter, a little less weighted now.  Yay!

Going left, she still wants to be empty in the outside rein and we struggle there since my outside aids can’t seem to be doing what I know they should be doing.

But Hey, I love this right here!

collecting the canter with young horse

Training, Going Back And Forth

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

Pictures As Promised

Here’s where she is in the training.

Or, full disclosure, here’s where she is for 3 seconds in the training!
horse trotting through corner

The canter is really coming along, which is so encouraging!  Right now our problem is to stay within the set tempo.

Earlier, she’d rather not bother to canter much at all.  Now, she’s gotten stronger and rounder over her back, and has decided it should be done with gusto, faster and faster.  Or yeah, not-at-all-thank-you-very-much-I’m-stopping-alltogether-now.

gray dressage horse cantering

Have to regulate it just right.  Last week, that seemed like it would take forever.  She hated it.  Then Friday I tried some (almost) serpentine work just for kicks and she stayed so soft and controlled through the turn on both leads.

Thrilled with her!  Paying NO attention to transitions that time.  Would have been too much…

trotting with young horse

improving trot on diagonal

Trying to leg yield both to, and away from, the rail.  Sometimes it works.

starting leg yield with young horse

Another great thing (but at the same time challenging for now.) is a huge amount of blow/snorting during the canter.  She used to be quiet, never breathing all the way through, not truly releasing and giving the feeling she was working in it.

Several rides she’s done so much relaxing and blowing that we completely fall apart and have to start over.  Very good problem to have!  Just need to figure out how to allow it to happen and carry on, earlier.

Fun times!

cross bred andalusian mare

When The Canter Doesn’t Improve As Planned

Last week, several of those rides where I seriously considered the sanity in doing this.

Backing and training a young horse, spending endless time effort and resources on getting her to be a decent citizen.  All the while having so many things go wrong.  Some days she still feels barely greenbroke.

Then a ride here and there will be a giant step forward, and it all seems worth it.

Lately, the canter has been a major sticking point.  Getting worse.  Irregular, fourbeat, sticky, hesitant, tight, low, crabby, small, you name it.  Definitely not improving.

low to the ground canter
This is not it
tight canter
Not this either

Just like you, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to help create a more free-flowing, ground winning, basic canter.  How hard can it be, right?!  She doesn’t care.  We Crab-Canter on…

improving the canter
With spurs…
four beat canter
No spurs…
no stirrups in canter
No stirrups, it’s all the same…

No wait, I actually really like her right there above, but it doesn’t last for long.  Then she dives down again, looses rhythm, or canters like a Weiner dog.

very uphill canter
Of course it’s completely fair to compare her to Spanish Super Star, Top International, Cardenas bred, Fuego… Here in Kentucky.

On her own, it’s a bit better sometimes.  If you don’t love to be greeted like this (And all for a cookie, really!?…) then something is wrong.

horse cantering uphill in pasture
Uphill, in pasture

End of post.  No major reveal at the end.  But this should all make you feel a lot better about whatever sticky situation you’re dealing with.  At least you got this down!

Continuing the slow death of Short Stabby Strides.  I’ll let you know when we get through this.  🙂  Have an awesome Monday!

transitions to improve the canter