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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Getting out of the arena

Ever since the Lisa Wilcox clinic, Lance and I have stayed in the sandbox (I still need to do a post with all the take-away points we're using from that and the Anna Blake clinic.) The footing has been good and I'm trying to solidify new habits and muscle memory (in me) to help Lance shine. But yesterday I decided it was high time to cross-train, so we walked around the edge of the lot next to us, which gave us a unique perspective of our house,

and then rode back and forth through the vineyard, now nearly devoid of leaves.

Lance found it harder work than arena schooling, and actually got a bit sweaty for a change.

I didn't ride today because I was tired and it got really smoky again. Reasons and photos over on the farm blog; hoping to be back in the saddle again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ride the horse you want

Implementing what I watched Lisa Wilcox do with the fancy-shmancy warmbloods and their riders has been gratifying. While Lance will never 'boing' with the incredible suspension seen in the clinic videos, we have moments of ballroom magic when I correctly channel what I heard and watched into my riding. As we were circling in a lovely, swinging, springing trot I thought, "Ride the horse you want."

For quite a while now, I've been "riding the horse I have" as I had no other option (plus I love my big red goober and exercise is part of his prescription). But by riding more effectively, Lance becomes the dressage partner I want – who knows; showing might even be in our future again! Most importantly, his foamy mouth tells me he's relaxed and happy in the work:

Monday, November 5, 2018

The feasting season

No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving. 🍴

After a week of wonderful rides following the Lisa Wilcox clinic, yesterday I had a chance to audit the second day of an Anna Blake clinic! I have followed her blog for years and got to meet her at the World Cup in Omaha a year and a half ago, so when I found out late last week that she was going to be in Oregon I scrambled to find out when, where, and how much. Unfortunately I already had too many commitments in place to do more than audit one day of two two-day clinics, but that alone gave me plenty to chew on and implement at home. Here are some photos from yesterday.

Anna worked with all kinds of horses and their people, some mounted and some not. This clinic was specifically on "Calming Signals" and groundwork (you'll have to read more about those on her blog), although I have to say I got more from her work with riders. Anna is brash and funny and extremely insightful, and except for being cold all day I enjoyed watching her very much.

Feeling so in sync with my dancing partner (more on that in another post) and getting to audit TWO clinics just a week apart is exhilarating. I feel like I'm getting part of myself back, if that makes any sense.