Improving The First Level Canter Lengthening.

how to lengthen the canter at first level

In theory – fairly straightforward, right..?

We’re still working on it!  At least occasionally.  Just touching on it, then leaving it alone so she doesn’t get frustrated.  Full disclosure – I’ve left it mostly alone for a couple of weeks…

Insider tips are welcome of course!


This was the canter lengthening in early July.

how to lengthen the canter at first level

Really pleased with her – straight, focused, withers are up, neck reaching out, and with a bit of power! 

The movement comment was that she needed to show more.  If you’ve scribed for a judge (DO this, it’s very educational, every time!), you know that it’s a standard comment at First Level.

It’s hard to get the lenghtenings right, without creating tension, coming above the bit, or just rushing downhill.  Or not showing any difference at all.

Some schooling practice over the summer.  With various results 🙂

teaching canter lenghtening at first level

I like how she’s sitting just a little more here.  Doesn’t mean she stayed that way, since she’d just come out of the corner here, getting started right at M.

The canter lengthening, or seriously, any lengthening, is very difficult for her.  Extensions?   Forget it.


better dressage canter lengthening
This is about where she is now.  Probably the limit for how far forward she can come with the hind at this point.  I’ll take it!

Settled in at Twisted Oaks again.

horse with fall foliage

Good to be back, and Valiosa took the move in stride.

We’ll be training entirely on our own again during the time we’re here like before.  Not ideal but it will be alright for the time we’re here 🙂

Of course I’m hoping we can get in a lesson at the end of the month.  It’s so easy fall into bad habits…

Think I already did, so now all focus is on trying to “recycle” previous lessons as much as possible!

gray horse head

There’s some sort of rule that whenever a mare moves in to a new place she has to instantly come in heat.  I’m sure.  She’s just about done now, none of the guys paid her much attention any way.

Next weekend we have another adventure coming up.  More about it later!

horse with fall foliage

My thoughts go out to everyone in the devastating Napa and Sonoma fires so close to us. Winds have turned and the smoke is no longer thick over here – but I know many horses are far from being safe still, and the fires keep eating up houses each day.  Small hopes for rain later in the week.  Please let it happen!

Biggest Thank You To My Friends in Mount Aukum!

Elinor Yee

It’s been the best of times – leaving is hard!

Valiosa has been happy as a clam living in huge pastures and various herds since January, when I had to have hand surgery.

With more work hours, driving a full hour each way to get to the stable seemed unreasonable, so, leaving the beautiful facility was a must.  Miss it already, and we’ve just left!

barn with french windows

Never fun to leave friends behind.  Can’t believe I won’t get to goof off with my trainer all the time any more!  Forget the barn, I’m going to miss my friend!  (Please, promise to come out and see me!!) 

The riding is going to take a hit for sure 🙂  We’ll be training on our own at the “old” barn for 4-5 weeks.  (Where we’re already getting to see our other friends again – yay!) 

Then settle in at a closer, winter friendly, barn.  (No snow, but there is mud here.)

I’ve followed and worked with the horses at this facility for so many years – we’ll stay connected in one way or another for sure!

The opportunity to train and be geeky with my horse there has been extra fun.

being nerdy with horses
Derpy pictures with your horse – check!

My biggest thanks to Dorado Andaluz for our time together!  I’m incredibly grateful for everything!

Elinor Yee

Best Way To Get Over A Bad Ride

staying positive when training is not going well

So, there was a sucky ride.

Just really, horribly, bad. No serious trouble, but, dressage it was not.

Who else here need to put themselves in trance to ride well?..  Without full attention to everything, schooling with Miss Gray goes to pits.  Frustrating.

It was one of those rides where nothing ever really got better. She was tense. Not spooky, ever. Just tense. We never followed each other, and it just felt so worthless.

grazing horse while riding
Our only good move.

There’ll be rides like this. Where all the sacrifices, money, and time spent driving feels completely wasted.  And we start to wonder if it’s really truly worth it all.  (Is it, really?)


Now, the best way to get over a bad ride:

Just come to terms with that Every Ride Is Not Going To Be Great.

Not for you.  Not for everyone else.

Everybody knows that.  Sure.  Just stings when we have to face up to it.  Right?  Just get in a cool-down, and move on.  Next time out will be SO much better!


Really. Not every ride is going to be great…

staying positive when training is not going well

Washrack Misery

using step stool to wash horse

Still stuck on the “Happy Fall” theme.

So here goes.

Know what else is great with cooler fall weather?

using step stool to wash horse

No more wash rack facials!

washing horses in the face

At least in Valiosa’s book that’s a major plus with cooler weather.  She hates them.

So, we have an agreement to do it only rarely, on super hot days only, and not until crud looks ripe enough to jump out and bite you.

how to wash a horse head

This is why.

horse does not like to get head wet