Saturday, August 23, 2014

dressage + transformations

Dressage is very new to me. It's always been a bit of a mystery, actually. I understand and appreciate the value of dressage, and why we should seek a balanced and correct way of going. But it's also always felt unattainable to me. 

This picture was taken a few months into my lease with Izzy - maybe spring a year ago. We had finally figured out how to get a consistent speed in all three gaits, regardless of where we were in the arena. That alone felt like a huge victory for me, so I kinda coasted on that for a while, and didn't ask for much else. 

'this is how i go. period.' -Isabel 
'yea ok that's cool.' -me
(photo credit Shelli Ramos)

But getting into eventing means dressage, so I started bi-monthly lessons this past spring with a trainer MP who travels to us. She is slowly but surely reprogramming my hunter perch into something a little more functional. 

Some of my biggest issues right now:
  • loooong reins. seriously - just shorten them!
  • elasticity and 'give' in my contact - I need to allow my upper arms to just hang down instead of always floating them forward and then gripping with my hands / breaking my wrist
  • more leg in the *right* way. My tendency is to nag nag nag with my heels and get my legs all curled up under me (especially my right side). I need to lengthen the muscles and stretch down to close with my calf. 
  • engage the core muscles .... stop collapsing!
I still have a lot of work to do on my own position - particularly at the canter - before I can start expecting really great results from Isabel. 

'ugh get off my back!' -Isabel

somewhat, uh better...

But I'm finally starting to see real progress at the walk and trot - even when I don't have a trainer out there guiding me through it. It feels good!

Our 'transformation' (great idea, Niamh!) is by no means complete, but it's happening. 

'ooh I feel fancy' -Isabel

And I guess that's what it's all about - I'm developing a 'feel' for it, but it's just going to take some time. Fortunately Isabel is a willing partner who really tries. 

Hopefully we'll get our next dressage lesson scheduled in the next week or two!


  1. Your looking good! It's cool to see the comparison.

    1. Thanks!! It's good for me to see too - helps make it feel real lol

  2. Replies
    1. thanks! we are slowly but surely getting more nice moments, and each moment lasts a little longer than before

  3. I pretty much have the same issues you're working through with the dressage thing. Sometimes I get the right feel, but its you think you have a fish on the line, but then poof its gone. Looks like you guys are making great progress!

    1. thanks! that's exactly it -- like it all boils down to timing, and i'm mentally way too slow right now haha