To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Solving a murder mystery
But I do feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to parse out what is going on and how to help him.
So what have I been doing? I continue to ride, occasionally, gently and briefly. Twice in Sylvia's Schleese, below, and then back to the old Wintec when a closer look at the Schleese told me it was likely too tight at the front tree points.
I did quite a bit of research on Schleese saddles to learn what model Sylvia's is and whether or not the tree can be adjusted (it can). In the process, I talked to a Schleese representative and a saddle fitter, and found this video by Jochen Schleese on YouTube:
Wow; I see a lot of Lance in there! It would be easy to believe that improper saddle fit is the root of all his issues . . . but still I search. I have watched videos on equine massage and body work, and tried my uneducated hand at that. Tonight I finally tried my Magic Hands electric massager on him, to which he gave neither a clear hoof-up or hoof-down.
I have ordered a Wintec Dressage Pro, and hope to have it in hand along with the Schleese when I meet up with Suzan and her saddle fitter friend next week. Besides some expert saddle fitting help, I look forward to learning more about how to work Lance from the ground. Suzan recently posted the following on her FaceBook page; she gave me permission to share it here.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to convince the student to dismount and learn from the ground. Everyone would love to just ride; who wouldn't? Working in-hand as well as long-lining has become a lost art, but has so many incredible benefits. Long-lining demystifies what can so often be the issues while riding. In-hand work teaches the student how to ride with light contact whether the leg or the hand. You can feel instantly from the ground where the horse is balancing his weight. For many amateurs the feel or where the horse is placing his weight can be lost while mounted. Instructing from the ground, however, can teach the student to maneuver their horse in leg yield, shoulder etc., allowing the student to see visually what the horse is doing and feeling in each movement. Not only does this allow the horse to have a better understanding of what the owner is aiding them to do but many light bulbs, so to speak, go off for the owner as well. Just remember that the horse must be balanced in the movements, slow down and give the horse time to process.