Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spider In Action!

So, last time I had my trainer down for a lesson I got him to take pictures.  Well.... I actually didn't intend for him to take pictures, I was going to ask him to get on Spider for a minute at the end of the ride, so I could get a picture of Spider's head and neck for my living room.  (My living room is decorated with pictures of my children and horses that I've taken over the years.)  But, he saw the camera and said "Oh good!  Let's take pictures of you riding!"

*Gulp*  I hate looking at pictures of myself on a horse.  I always find a million things to pick apart.....

The focus of the day was forward and engaged, so I don't have any pictures of us doing fun things.  Just regular, boring walk-trot-canter.

Let's start with the good pictures:

Nice trot

Transition down from trot to walk.
Nice walk, too bad the rider is slouching and staring at the ground.
Canter is getting there
Medium needs a little more "oomph", but not bad

♫♪ Floating ♬♩
And now let's see what we need to work on...

Definitely need to work on that 

Needs more engagement

Needs more engagement (also less rider yanking on inside rein)
Needs more.... eh, you know the drill
Overall, Spider is consistently on the bit and staying in a nice frame, but he needs to sit down push off more from behind.  He needs to increase his engagement.  This is hard for him, because he's not naturally built that way.  So for now that will be our focus, helping Spider develop the strength necessary to really sit down on his haunches and collect.  I'd much rather be working on fun stuff like half-passes and flying changes, but I know the tricks will be there when I need them because I'm taking the time to lay a solid foundation.

Oh, and at the end of the ride I did get my trainer to hop on so I could get a shot for my living room:


  1. Your seat is lovely, and Spider looks really good, except in those few moments.

    Interesting that in the photo where you are looking down, your leg has also slipped forward as your seat has fallen back. Might make you remember to look up if you think of that image.

    Spider looks to be the kind of horse that does not need a heavy, driving seat, so thinking "up" through your core may well help him engage more in those "awkward" moments. Think of "letting his back lift" underneath you.

    Now, for the bad....MOM!!!...of all people, with a sweet little youngster who depends on you...WHY are you riding without a HELMET???? And yes, I am YELLING. I know dressage riders too often think they don't need head protection, but take a lesson from history...Courtney King Dye is perfect proof that is just not true. Anything can happen, and as a doctor once said to me, "We can fix a broken leg, a broken arm, and, as you know most often a broken back, but there's no way to fix a broken head."

    Rant over....signed, your loving mom up here in Central Jersey.

    1. Thank you! I know, I know. I should wear my helmet all the time. I have no excuse for it, but will try to be better in the future!

      You are right, dressage riders tend not to think about helmets even though we're just as much at risk as anyone else. I tend to forget because it wasn't a part of our "uniform" until recently. I'm just not trained to think of them as part of my gear (yet, I'm working on it). Hopefully, now that the USDF has added helmets to the requirements, the old school riders like me will start remembering them and the upcoming generation of riders will be trained to think of them as part of the usual riding routine. My kids have never sat on a horse without a helmet, and never will. For them, a helmet will be just as much a part of their riding gear as their boots.

  2. How nice to get photos! The black and white shot of Spider is stunning. Agreed that your seat looks great. (also agreed about protecting your head!)

    1. Thanks, it's my new favorite picture of him. And thanks for the neat symbol tutorial! That will provide me with hours of entertainment (I'm easily amused).

  3. Awesome pictures. You and Spider look really nice together. That last shot is perfect for hanging on your wall :)

    1. Thank you! We always get "Well-suited pair" as a comment on our tests. Personally, I think he just makes me look better than I really am!

  4. Spider is one handsome horse. I really appreciate his light build. He looks so delicate and elegant. You look great, too, even in the less than perfect photos. :)

    1. Thank you! It's funny, he's the same height as my Warmblood but feels much smaller to ride because of his light build. I always call Spider "my little Thoroughbred", even though he's 16.2h!

  5. I think all your pictures look wonderful. Okay, some are less than perfect but on the whole you two look great together.

    The picture you got for you living room is awesome. What a handsome guy he is.

    p.s. I don't know you so I can't say anything about helmets. So if I might be slightly obnoxious I'll just ditto what Jean said. That way you can't be annoyed at me because I didn't actually say it...right?

    1. Thank you! I tend to be hyper-critical, so positive reviews are always welcome!

      I would never be annoyed at you for stating your position on a subject. That's why I put myself out there, to get other's opinions. If I'm doing something that you think is dumb, I want you guys to point it out! I think that differing opinions are important, they get us thinking about things and questioning our dogma.

  6. Very very nice pictures! Jealous and envious of your nice flat smooth riding area! LOL

    FYI, I started my blog on my stringhalt horse, and thanks again for your input. The address is In case you want to check it out. If it won't come up you can always go to my original blog ( and grab the link there.

    Please keep posting pics, I learn alot from this page!

    1. Thank you! We built that arena ourselves with just a small tractor with a scoop and box blade, the details are under my "arena construction" tag.

      I'm looking forward to reading your blog about your experiences with stringhalt, I'll definitely be adding it to my reading list!


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