Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back On The Treadmill

Spider and I are back in the ring again after our all-too-brief fling with polo.  We'll have a polo play-date again soon, but for now it's back to the treadmill.

My 6 year old daughter took this picture with my iPhone. It's better than some of the "professional" work I've seen.

One thing nobody ever tells you about training the upper levels of dressage, is that it's exactly like training the lower levels of dressage. Sure, the level of collection is different and you get to do some tempis and half passes, but it's still the same stuff.

Flex, release, bend, give, ask for more. Flex, release..... Same stuff, different day. 

Every ride starts with establishing the framework, and then we can maybe do some fun stuff. Or maybe not, depends on the day and how the horse and I are feeling. Forcing, or even attempting, the lateral work and changes when the horse is still tense or not in the right frame just makes for crappy lateral work and failed changes. 

Bad days feel like I'm back at Training Level: endless circles just trying to get the horse engaged and on the bit. 

But all the "bad days" spent establishing and re-establishing the connection are what make the good days happen. 

Training isn't linear, it isn't really a scale or a pyramid. It's a big circle made up of lots of little circles, like those Spirograph toys.

Remember Spirographs? I was obviously not very good at them...

Collection isn't the end, it's just a new beginning. You're always circling back to the other stages of training.


  1. Wow! I am SO glad to read this. Often times in dressage I feel like there is no progress, mostly because of what you just described - a constant circling back to the basics. :) Love the pic!

  2. as someone who is doing endless circles just to get the horse engaged and on the bit, this is a SUPER helpful perspective - thanks for sharing!

  3. I like your Spirograph hehe. Great post and so true! :D

  4. Always good to remember that even those working at a higher level so,entires still focus on re-establishing the basics. Somehow, it makes me feel like maybe I'm nit that far behind after all

  5. This is so useful to read. I'm still at Training level, but knowing what I'm aiming for is so great!! Thank you so much. :)

    bonita of A Riding Habit


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