To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Last night I dreamed about riding Horton in a big, green, sloping field with perfect footing (it looked rather like Equinox Farm!). We cantered the uphill grades; my mount was round and willing... it was lovely.

Horton has been here over a month, and he hasn't cantered under saddle since I tried him out before bringing him home. He hasn't offered, and didn't respond the one time I asked for it verbally. Much of his time here has been spent trying out his balky attitude on me, so obviously there's no point in pushing for canter with a horse who isn't thinking "forward."

After my dream, I got up determined to ride Horton early. If I put off riding (like I did yesterday) it often doesn't happen – I get caught up in all that needs doing, it gets too hot, my mental reserves are spent dealing with my son, etc. So this morning I did chores in my breeches and then saddled up.

I told Horton it was time he got with the program; that I knew he could be a good boy. Then I proceeded to ride him accordingly – expecting him to be good and not accepting anything less! And yes, I did ask him to canter.  It was a non-starter to the right, but he did canter to the left a couple times. I tried getting the right lead by crossing the diagonal and encouraging a flying change (he was ridden by a hunter/jumper for awhile, after all), but that didn't work. Still, it was a good ride overall, and another stride forward in the attitude department!


sylkan said...

Bodyworker Jeff Moore offered yesterday to come out with me and give Horton a going-over if you think he might be stiff somewhere. What do you think? When you lunge him, do you canter? If so, is he bracing his neck out on his tough lead?

Michelle said...

Sure, bring Jeff out if you want. Can't hurt! He really doesn't act stiff or sore anywhere. Yes, he canters on the lunge willingly both directions. When I ride he seems "grouchier" trotting to the left, although that is starting to go away. This morning we had a nice, soft ride. I left the girth looser and took off the flash, then worked on keeping him quiet, straight and rhythmic in a longer rein at walk, trot, halts, and rein backs. He never once got balky, and seemed more relaxed than ever before.