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

Friday, September 20, 2013

First Level, here we come!

Or would that be Second Level?

It's been a good week with my handsome prince. We had a great lesson with Julie on Wednesday, after two good rides on Monday and Tuesday. Last night I put on his Renegade boots and rode him down to get the mail by the light of the brilliant harvest moon. Then this morning I got up, did chores and got in another good schooling session before the predicted rain. (Yeah, I'm feeling pretty smug about that bit o' time management. ;-)

 It's hard to say if our dances were better due to a costume change (I used the Wintec), a shift in my focus (lesson coming up/just past), or the full moon. ;-) Whatever; I'll take them.

During our ride on Tuesday, we progressed from schooling prompt trot/halt/trot transitions to "coiling and releasing the spring" at the trot – asking for a bigger trot, then bringing it back to a more collected trot – for the first time. In our lesson with Julie, we worked on trot lengthenings for the first time. These two exercises sound similar, but are actually very different in execution and purpose. Trot lengthening is only done in USDF First Level tests, but the self-carriage, collection and impulsion developed by "coiling the spring" is useful all the way to Grand Prix. I've heard it said – and agree – that not every horse has a lengthening, but all horses are capable of developing medium and extended trot (although not all medium and extended trots are created equal, of course). Depending on how things develop over the winter and spring, we may flit briefly through First Level on our way to Second Level – or skip First Level all together!


Alanna said...

That is so awesome! Congratulations.

cheyenne jones said...

Very well done.

Laura said...

Good for you! I'd love to ride in the morning, but Tang absolutely will not cooperate if she hasn't had breckies... I can't wait to hear how Lance progresses!!

Mary said...

You are ready. Go for it. There is nothing so upsetting as to see the same pair in Training Level season after season. What do they do all winter?

Nick and I are signed up for a Western Dressage clinic the end of Oct. He is really benefiting from his 30 days of riding with a cowboy. My job will be to learn Western cues well enough to ride him through his attitude and start on the transition to English.
I hope we learn lots at the clinic and I do not close my ears if I hear a dressage concept explained poorly.

Briana said...

Yeah, go you! Lovely pictures too :) I am really getting curious about doing some dressage with the River, have to find someone to teach me though (my current coach though I love her to death is not a dressage trainer!).