Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dopie Does Dressage

As was his intended purpose--once he got done being a relatively mediocre sprinter for three years, that is.

i mean he is really super fast though. just look at him. travelling at the speed of sloth.

We've been slowly plugging away at the fundamentals. It's not particularly flashy or exciting, but it is rewarding when it produces things like less falling down, adjustability within the gaits, and--my current favorite--a semi-reliable half halt at the canter.

With the new dressage tests finally released, I was ready to take all our basics to the next level starting as of this morning. The new leg yields! The canter patterns from First! The super kind counter canter from 2-1! Opie hadn't been ridden in three days due to the power steering on my truck going as BM and I were on our way to a field trip which derailed my scheduled weekly plan, and the temperature had dropped to the thirties with heavy winds, but no matter. Dressage, here we come!

Only:

that is a half chap over my tall boot. DAMN IT.

My wool socks finally did my sad, old zipper in so I had to wrestle on one of my moldy, forgotten half chaps over my boot. Then my spur wouldn't fit comfortably over the whole shebang so I went with a spur on the right foot only. Fine, whatever. We're coming for you anyway, dressage!

he's so dark and dapply after his body clip. it makes me deliriously happy.
#neverturnwhite

I put Opie on the longe out of prudence, but he trotted all of three circles before asking if he could quit. I made him canter instead and he managed maybe three circles of that as well before we both gave up. He does, however, take a hot minute to warm up in the colder weather even with his butt cape on. We did a brief trot in both directions before going back to the canter and doing a bunch of laps in half seat.

Finally we were ready for real for dressage!

he is just the most perfect midget thoroughbred. i will take no arguments.

We worked mostly on the new leg yield pattern in 1-3 as that test and 1-1 will be the go-to next season. 1-1 because it's the easiest (although I haven't even looked at 1-2 yet so that might change), and 1-3 because you have to ride the highest test at your level for year end awards so we're always going to get stuck there.

Opie was a tight, tense mess when I first introduced him to leg yielding. He doesn't like moving his hind end independent of the rest of his body--sad story, welcome to dressage, amigo--so any and all lateral work has been slow in coming. But I spent multiple rides on a long rein at a slow trot asking him to gently move back and forth off the rail and then praising the shit out of him. Slowly he realized it wasn't that big of a deal and now we can do it reliably out of a working trot. I want it to get a lot better, but it's passable for now.

The 10m circle and then turn off the centerline were no big deal which was where those basics waved their little victory flags. Fifty different changes of bend in five seconds? Easy peasy.

i went from not being able to sit my horse's canter because it was nonexistent to being able
to sit it because it was small and kind of sucky back to not being able to sit it because it's good.

The canter is a mixed bag. It's getting so much better but each time it gets better I have to completely relearn how to ride it. Bobby was gigantic, but he had a tiny pony stride. Opie is tiny, but he has a gigantic step. I want to choke it back to make it easier to ride, but I'm trying to suck it up and let him roll because I know forward is always the answer. Unless your core is made of jello chocolate.

I am FINALLY getting a half halt to go through in it though! It's helping the balance, and is slowlyyyyyy helping the downward transitions. Both the up and down transitions out of it are still mostly crap though. I was going to schedule a lesson to work specifically on those, but then my truck. And my tall boots. Hopefully once the holidays pass I'll be able to get back on a regular lesson schedule again.


In the meantime, I've also started introducing some counter canter. It is super special.


He actually does better when I plan ahead and steer (surprising, I know) and give him more time on the long side to get rebalanced. He went from breaking and falling down to now trying lead changes when I don't get him set up right. Ah well. The rare occasion we're both in order it's nice. And he does the shallow serpentines to X just fine. Once we get locked in the narrow indoor for winter, it will come. Either that or we're going to face plant on a regular basis.

The 15m canter circles at the end of the ring are there, so check that off. The change of lead at X is a downward canter transition so is currently meh. The lengthen canter to working canter is getting flawless, and the lengthen trot is as steady as ever.

Basically we're ready for First, but this winter should give us the polish to hopefully do as well as we did at Training this year.

don't need no polish for posing, yo.

22 comments:

  1. That last picture needs a frame. Wow.

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    1. I actually needed a picture on a trail for the TRRIP so I made Hubby run out behind the pastures quick to snap one. They turned out really cute!

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  2. He's so damn dreamy. And gah, you're right, his dapples right now. OMG. BUT! He will be a VERY cute all white horse one day, too. Cute never dies.

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  3. He always has the most ernest expression on his face. It's kind of adoreable.

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    1. He's always eager to please because pleasing equals cookie distribution.

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  4. He is just such a beauty! I completely understand why judges love you guys :)

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    1. 10/10 he gets extra points for cuteness.

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  5. Always calling quarter sheets butt capes now.
    And yes pleaseeeeee frame that last pic!

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    1. Butt capes are 100% greater than quarter sheets.

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  6. that last picture is gorgeous - and you guys look amazing!!!

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  7. He is such a gorgeous horse!! Sounds like you are on a good track for winter training to come out strong at First in the spring!

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    1. I'm happy to have a solid game plan for the horrible darkness of winter lol

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  8. wow that tall boot / half chap combination really is something lol!!! haha.... he looks good tho! every time i think charlie is ready for first, suddenly we forget how to steer and his shoulders weirdly detach from all space time reality and fly off into some sort of parallel universe where the rules are made up and the aids don't matter....

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    1. Ugh I was SO annoyed by my stupid boot! I'm glad I at least had the stupid half chap buried in my trunk.

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  9. Shitty about the boots but oh my goodness he's such a handsome dude.

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  10. Gotta love them dapples! Also butt capes and glorious fall pics!

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  11. He really looks amazing. You've done such a fantastic job with him, and I know there's more to come for you guys.

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  12. Looking good, youll be ready in no time.

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