Come spend a morning with us in the covered round pen.

adjusting tack in round pen

Sometimes spooky in there.

Shadows and movement from the covered walker next door.  Spring crazy rabbits come in through the panel gaps.  At least that’s her excuse.

setting up for lunging in round pen

Days with too much spring grass, a beach ball belly, bouncy-ball legs, and a new stallion from Florida, are made for visiting the round pen.

working in covered round pen

Always a pretty relaxed horse, there were a couple of weeks where you could only whisper Trot or Canter to start.  She’d still anticipate, and go in to it with a squeal.

trotting in covered round pen

Disobedience, yeah sure.  Still, feeling a little spicy and wanting to express herself is good!  Playfulness is welcome.  (Just coming off a 2 months test on Red Cell.  Nope, no more feeding Red Cell.  Crazy stuff!  Too exciting.)

horse playing on the lunge line

Back to innocence.

adjusting tack in round pen

That’s all from Buckingham Palace.

Riding Hands Forward

riding dressage with good rein contact

Thought I’d show something that finally clicked in training on my own!


Simple concept:  Hands Forward – Horse To Bit, Not Bit To Horse.

Know how your trainer will tell you to bring the horse forward to the bit, not the horse back toward the hand?  With hands and seat striving forward?  (If it’s a good trainer.)

How exhausting it must be to instruct and have to say that over and over in lessons, never really knowing if the message went through…  (Alexis I’ve been trying!)

On my own this can go to the wayside (maybe for you too.) but the basic idea is there.  Finally catching it in pictures!  This one goes out to any poor soul who’s ever wondered if their student will get it!

Valiosa making her trademark move, scrunching up and back, a pushback, in every way.  Yes, ugly.  No, don’t budge or fiddle the fingers.

pushing back and coming above the bit

Hands stay in their “little area”, seat is in but following, not pushing down.  (Bonus points if looking up.  No bonus for me, ever.)

riding with the hands in correct position

And then she comes to the hand!  Finally!

bringing the horse to the bit

OK so then there could be some more calf and more give in the hand and she would have stayed looser.

giving with the hand after half halting

But here she is two strides later!  Love!  It works!

riding dressage with good rein contact

Vulnerability, For Strength

dressage horse blogs 2018

Not sure about you, but I click on some sites more often than others.

Hard to say why, but there are some that really are interesting – when there’s extra time it’s great to see what’s going on.

A big key to it – open writing.  Sure, plain and conversational helps.  But also, reading something that most would rather not show to others makes it a lot more interesting.

vulnerability in writing

Vulnerability: There’s strength in that. Even though it seems polar opposite.
Just sharing some training issues makes the writer face it all – accept that Yep, right now they’re probably looking like they don’t know what they’re doing.  Or things may not be going all that great.

And that this is OK.

dressage horse blogs 2018
Your not overly impressive team. But happy!

Horse sport is incredibly difficult.  No one will argue with that. 🙂 Doing it on your own, even more so.

Adding the discipline of dressage; ultra meticulous and so elusive most people grow mold just trying to explain what it is, makes it almost impossible.

It’s been a blast sharing some of the challenges with our training, and of course it’s going to click more with readers than glossy things, endless perfect days and successes.  (Good, since we don’t have too many.  Yet.)

It makes you a better rider too, just reading about someone wrestling with the same stuff.

how to write so readers come back
Let’s go achieve something, even if we don’t know how to get there!

The crazies that goes along with it are half the fun.

Up next, a riding tip.

Spring Schooling Update

straight in trot

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