Dressage Clinic

The clinic was very informative, but extremely cold. The equestrian centre where it was held is very posh, but they haven’t been allowed planning permission for an indoor arena (quite a common problem here), so the wind just cuts through you. I was videoing it, and I could see the camera jumping up and down due to my shivering. It probably took me an hour to warm up and relax once I got home.

There were three demonstration riders, on very nice lower-level horses. One was a Shire/TB mare that I fell in love with, although she unfortunately had breathing problems at canter. Shame. Everyone worked together while she discussed each horse’s way of going, and then they each came in, did a test as she commented and marked them; she then discussed each one’s individual problems and gave them schooling exercises to correct them, and then they took the test again with her correcting them as they went. It was great.

Something that I want to try:

The “20 metre square” exercise: rather than working on a 20 metre circle, work on a square, doing transitions on each corner. Medium trot, walk on corners. Canter to trot. Canter to walk. Medium to collected work on corners, in all gaits. It gets the horse listening to you, and gets their hind end under them.

She talked alot about hot horses, and having the courage to let go of them when you feel that they’re trying to run away with you. Trust your horse, trust yourself, give them some rein and they should relax, come down, and start working lower and rounder. “Down and round! Down and round!” lol…I could hear that in my sleep, I heard it so much. ;)

Don’t keep nagging an unresponsive horse with your legs. Ask, ask, then give them a good, hard “pony club” kick or a swat with the whip, wake them up. Then go back to asking. Yes, there were a few bucks there that highly amused everyone.

Sometimes you have to throw a test away to teach your horse something; you can make up for it on your next test.

Don’t ruin young horses in the lower levels just because many judges will unfortunately reward cranked-in, artificial outlines. You may win more at lower levels, but your horse will have a hard time progressing higher.

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Off to the yard now, as I have today and Monday off. W00t! I’m going to ride Lizzie gently, and see how she does. She’s going mad from the box rest, and is very difficult to hand-walk anywhere.



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