Monday, April 20, 2015

Houston, We Have a Dressage Pony!

Maggie totally brought her 'A' game to our dressage lesson on Friday and we had the best lesson that I think we've ever had.

Disclosure: All the pics in this post are from the day after our lesson. I coerced my husband in coming to take pics/video because I wanted to see if we could duplicate how we were going. Maggie definitely didn't ride quite the same the next day, but we certainly had some good moments reminiscent of the day before. I'm sure she was tired and/or sore from the lesson - she worked very hard! I usually give her the day off after we have a long lesson, so I felt a little bad about making her work again...

I started off warming her up, trying to get her a little more forward but not fast. Then we went into some figure-eights and changing bend as we searched for a good rhythm. Often, we get a couple nice strides on the bit and then Maggie loses her balance or tries to evade and up pops her head. My instructor told me bring my hands wide when she pops her head up in order to maintain the contact - basically, don't let her evade it. Then when she softens again, make sure that I soften my contact too to reward her... 

...and it works really well! Maggie settled into a really gorgeous - dare I even say floaty - trot. She was really, truly on the bit probably for the first time ever. My instructor was really complimentary and happy with what she was seeing! Maggie was actually working over her back and I could feel her pushing from behind. 

At one point, I commented to my instructor that I felt like Maggie was really heavy in my hands and on the forehand and she said, well yeah, she is. We need to find the connection, balance, rhythm, and consistency in a lower frame first before she can start carrying herself with more collection, off her forehand, and in balance. Oh. That makes sense! I just need to make sure that I don't start tipping my upper body forward as well or else then she'll really end up heavy on the forehand.

We were able to keep the lovely trot throughout figure-eights and while going down the center line, but it came apart when we tried to leg yield. Leg yielding has never been my forte and I know we need a lot of work in this department. Even after we bobbled all over the place trying to leg yield, Maggie still settled right back into the lovely trot right away. My instructor said  "this is the most committed I've ever seen [Maggie]." We did some canter work as well - still working on the timing of the transitions. We had a few really good ones, but still need to work on it!

So I hope that something has really clicked in Maggie's brain and my muscle memory and that we can keep this momentum going!

Stretchy trot. FTW.


  1. Wow - she looks awesome! Who do you lesson with? A north shore dressage instructor?

    1. Yup, up on the north shore. It's the barn owner of the farm next door to where I board at. She doesn't have a big lesson program anymore, but still enjoys doing a few here and I'm glad she's kind of taken me in!

  2. Look at that stretch! You two are looking great!

  3. great pictures - you both look fabulous! sounds like an awesome lesson filled with 'aha' moments - my favorite!

  4. She looks fantastic! I love how relaxed and tracking up she is in these trot pictures.

  5. OMG that stretch, yo!!! She looks so so so so good!!!!

  6. Wow, she looks awesome! Well done!