Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Crossed-Over Step at a Time

Maggie has been so good lately, that that's what our recent rides have been very short, sweet, and focused.

Dressage is hard. Tired pony.
I fear we're officially stuck in the indoor now - at least during the week. It hasn't been consistently cold enough yet for the ground to freeze, so riding outside on the weekends (in the daylight) is still an option. For that reason, the jumps haven't been moved inside yet so flatwork is really the best and only option at the moment. And that's fine with me - we've got plenty to work on in that department!

After I zeroed in on Maggie's reluctance to step under herself with her right hind I decided to go right to work on it. The other week I started out working with her in-hand. I worked on getting her to yield to pressure from my hand and the dressage whip for about 15 minutes before I got on, asking her to step her right hind away from me and cross it in front of her left. Essentially, what I wanted achieve by doing this was simply showing her that she can use that leg in the way I'm asking her to.

Can't say it isn't still beautiful outside though, even if it is dark and cold.

I've gotten the sense from Maggie before (and from other horses too at times) that sometimes there's a mental block in the way. She doesn't think she can do it. Sometimes showing her it's possible helps. I know for a fact that the left side of her back is a little tighter and weaker than the right also, so I'm sure that has quite a bit to do with it too! 

The next step was getting on and trying to get the same response from the saddle. We did just a little leg yielding in and out on the circle and from the quarter line, but I didn't ride for too long that night so as not to fluster her. Best to quit while we're ahead instead of pushing for more that day. 

The next time I rode I only worked her in hand for a few minutes before I got on, just as a reminder of what we were doing. Then after getting on and doing some low key warmup, I started asking for the leg yield, fist at a walk and later at a trot. I focused on trying to use very correct, clear, and insistent aids...and for maybe the first time I got some actual crossover of her hind legs.

Worst quality photo ever - but you can see it!

We most certainly still have a long way to go with this whole dressage thing, but sometimes I feel like we're actually making some progress. Little by little, one crossed-over step at a time.


  1. i see it i see it!!! haha yea all that lateral stuff is such a huge struggle for us - probably for similar reasons (and esp bc i seriously lack coordination in asking for it). i bet Maggie will figure it out super quickly tho :)

    1. Coordinating the aids is really hard stuff! It's a big struggle for me too.

  2. I love how well you've gotten to know Maggie, and how thoughtful you are in how you approach things with her!