dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Learning to Fly

The old maple has her fall finery on

Now that I seem to have some new/refined tools in my toolbox, I'm trying to figure out how to use them. I'm also back in my dressage saddle. If you recall, I was riding myself much more secure in the Spanish saddle and was riding in that exclusively. At first I thought that the dressage saddle was maybe not fitting Carmen. But Shanea helped me to see that it fits her fine. 

So then I thought it wasn't fitting me. The only way to figure that out was to bring it out, dust it off and, you know, try it.  So I started about 10 days ago.  The first thing I noticed was that the stirrups felt far too short. Like 'jumper' short (I know they weren't jumper length!). When I let them down a hole it felt perfect. The second thing is that I feel as balanced in this as I do in the Spanish saddle. I recalled Karen's advice: 'just ride in the spanish saddle to help you find your balance and then ride in the dressage saddle.  Turns out she was right. 

I'm enjoying the schooling. I'm learning about myself quite a bit. For example I am noticing times when Carmen is really resistant and I want to give up and throw the contact away. I think that I used to give up and it's a bit of a mental battle to break through that. I don't know that I always get it right but I do know that I'm staying persistent. Which probably led to a real challenging ride last week. I'm sure the fall weather played a role too. Partway through I dismounted and did a bunch of groundwork. Partly to use energy but mostly to establish a pathway to her listening to me and not arguing. I then remounted and we carried on working. Through it all I felt balanced, so that was a win. 

The timing was good, though, because I had a lesson the next day. I explained my rides and then we went to work. 

Such a nice soft trot these days

And, once again, it was a great lesson. We start with getting Carmen to lengthen and shorten her walk stride to move her balance back. It gets her to really swing through her walk. In our work I need to help her to bend to the inside but not pull. It's hard. Having a voice in my ear talking me through it really helps when Carmen gets all wiggly. The biggest thing is for me to soften the rein to let her drop her neck. I'm getting more consistent with my hands but still a work in progress. 

I see this arch in my back and perhaps it's the posting, 
but Carmen looks good. 

Jane has us working hard. We flirt with the edge of what we can do but don't cross it. We were on a circle and Jane was getting us to keep a consistent bend and be forward. We went by Jane and Carmen pinned her ears at her. 

Carmen: I know you are the cause of all this hassle and I hate you. 

Jane:  *laugh* get on you auld bitch. 

I laughed so hard at that. 

The biggest transformation over the past few weeks is our canter.  It is so much more balanced. I can feel Carmen's confidence growing as well. The strike off is much easier as well. I can feel her lifting up through her withers and carrying 

Uphill and reaching 

Next is to open my seat more so I can sit better. It's fun and hard and exhilarating all at the same time. At the end of every lesson I feel like I did an intense workout. 

I am loving how floaty her gaits are getting. It's making me hungry for more. 

Keep your red bull, I have my own wings


  1. I love the photos. You can see the connection there. And floaty trots are the best!

    1. The only thing better than a floaty trot is a floaty canter.....

  2. Beautiful pictures! So interesting that you’re feeling so much better in the dressage saddle now!

    1. Thank you! I am fascinated by that. I still will ride in my spanish saddle. It's been very good for me.

  3. You're both looking good and very floaty! I just switch my saddle too. I went from Dusty's all purpose one to my old jumper saddle and it's made a lot of difference in the feel and my rides with Rosie. All good.

  4. The base of her neck has come up SO MUCH!! Wow!


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