Go for the gallop? When Oats learns it’s easier to trot instead of canter…

Dressage lesson last night and I faced it with a biiiittt of trepidation.


Was he going to be a looney-tunes?

Was he going to cooperate?

Was he going to put up a stink?

Who knows!

After a week off in horsey paradise, one rough ride in the ring, one good ride in the field, I wasn’t sure ‘which horse’ I’d have under me yesterday. We warmed up outside and he was actually fine, our right lead was kind of non-existent, but as I would find out later, that was an isolated incident…

We moved indoors to combat the dust but that wasn’t really a better solution either (my dirt tan was WAY better than my real tan by the end of the ride…). We worked on lateral work, where he was a bit fussy but fairly cooperative. Sometimes when he ‘gives’ it’s like ok HERE I’m GIVING YOU WHAT YOU WANT…And he tries to sort of snatch the reins out of my hands and bring his head down. And I have to be fine with him, somewhat rudely, ‘giving’ to me and to not punish him for it- it’s compliance, albeit with a bit of ‘tude.

We then worked on forward with contact. The -with contact- part of the ride wasn’t really happening, so I let that go and worked on forward. That meant that every time he got fussy and wanted to kind of hop into a canter, I …let him. And I galloped him like I meant it. Every time.

No getting off easy this ride, holy god it was a cardio workout and a half.

So, our ride consisted of GALLOP…working trot, can’t stick the working trot, back to GALLOP…back down to trot, still can’t keep the trot, GALLOP…On and on and on. Karen did explain that with this exercise, you have to mean it, and mean it consistently enough for the entire ride. The idea is to make the thing you want- the forward, contact trot, the easy game, and the thing the horse keeps offering (canter) the really hard work.

It also meant a lot of hard work for me!

He got the picture by the end of the right on both reins at the trot, still a bit of an uneasy truce with the contact and forward pieces, but we did make progress. I think with the week off, he was kind of like, wellll…..

She did say that his canter is looking much better (we only spent like, half our entire lesson in canter…ugh! So tired.) and his lateral work is really sharpening up!


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