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

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Picking up steam

It no longer feels like Stella and I are creeping along with baby steps. She's still very green, of course, but this week we've gone from cantering (left lead only) a few strides on a straight line, to thinking about right lead, to beginning to offer the right lead for a stride or two, to cantering part of a circle on left lead, to cantering an entire 20m circle plus on the left lead! When I told Rick after she first cantered half a circle, he acted rather incredulous that I was excited about that, wondering what has happened to my training chops, I guess. It has been a long, slow journey with this mare, unlike training any other horse in my life, but I have no deadlines and I'm really happy with the relationship we've built.

I have yet to sit down with my hoof boots to make the necessary adjustments, but I did go through the Renegade Hoof Boots website to see what can and needs to be done. As you can see, the tension straps have way too much overlap right now. But once adjusted I think they will fit Stella just fine. After the initial step or two when I first put them on her, she wasn't bothered by them at all.

Right now I'm working on scheduling a lesson with my favorite trainer. I was so excited to learn she has recovered enough from cancer surgery and chemo to start giving lessons again – for her sake, of course, as well as mine. She is still teaching at the facility where she gave us the long-lining lessons but the property has changed hands, so she is checking to make sure haul-ins are still permitted.


Michelle said...

And for the record, Stella cantered in the RIGHT lead(!) for the freeform equivalent of at least half a circle today!

Retired Knitter said...

I don't know what half of what you said means ... BUT I can tell it is ALL good! Trust can take a long time to build ... in any relationship. Your patience to let that happen is golden!

Alanna M said...

Hooray! You guys really are making progress. It's nice to see your hard work pay off. :)

A :-) said...

I didn't realize that horse had to be taught which lead to take. I rode many years ago when I was a kid - I guess I thought that they naturally chose the proper lead based on the direction they were going in the ring.

Michelle said...

Elaine, you crack me up – in a good way! And thanks. 😊

The progress is definitely coming faster now, Alanna. It's really exciting and confirming.

A, horses have 'sidedness' just like people, although left-sidedness seems to be more common in horses. Between that, and learning to balance itself while carrying a rider, they don't always choose the proper lead for the direction they are going. And in more advanced training, we will ask a horse to counter-canter intentionally for some benefits that brings when done correctly.