Tuesday, April 25, 2017

An Endurance Rider Does Dressage

Since I broke my collarbone, eventer pony and I have been doing a lot of dressage work. Let's face it, there was no way I wasn't going to ride him and both of us need dressage work. Now Quick does a lot of dressage exercises on the trail, he works from behind, lowering his hunches, articulating his joints and coming up through the wither and telescoping his neck. We do lateral work across the trails, dance around single tracks. If you bring him into the arena he acts like a camel who cannot move. He locks up, the arena is a place of tension for him.

Diesel on the other hand, finds dressage work boring. I cannot tell you how many times we have to bring in poles or small jumps to go over to keep him happy and continuing to work with me. He is not an easy horse.

This was our beginner novice test at a show last year. I thought it was one of his better tests. I got the idea from Biz Stamm to try to move up to first level with Diesel for the Arabian show at the end of April. I may be able to ride and train a horse to do a 100 miles in less than 24 hours, but riding 5 minutes or less in the sandbox and nailing every single corner and stride is really really difficult. Then match it with Diesel, who also finds anything that has to do with you telling him what to do and not letting him do it his way, annoying and well, dressage becomes difficult quickly. We have spent the whole of last year  working on him allowing me to surround him with the aides and be more rhythmic and cooperative in his work. Difficult I know!

So we entered into a schooling show, doing first level test 1.

The venue is a beautiful facility not to far away. However what made it difficult was warming up in the same arena we were showing in. There were breaks for warm up, and then 4-5 tests and then another break for warm up. Diesel warmed up pretty well considering a bunch of horses not liking the far end of the arena by the judge. Then we waited. We did walk around the driveway, but we were the last in the group of tests to go. There was no way I could warm him up enough to bring his mind back into focus for a relaxed test. However he did fairly well. He was tense and a bit um er forward.


Overall I think it went really well. We are going to try our hand at it again this next weekend. My goal is to prepare Diesel for Novice level eventing, and first level is beyond what he needs to do for a novice dressage test. 

It wasn't until I watched the videos of us from two years ago that I really saw the improvement in his way of going. The biggest thing was that he had rhythm. Something that should be so easy wasn't. He likes to rush, and keeping him in a steady tempo used to be difficult. I am really proud of how far he has come. 

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