Serious question though – why do eventers say it like DRESS-ahge but dressage people say it like dressAAAAhhgge? Things that keep me up at night…
But for real though, Henry and I have been back in a regular dressage lesson schedule for 4 months now. Yeah ok, we only do a lesson every other week, so that’s only 8 lessons, but there has been a lot of progress in that time. Granted, I never have media of it because Dressage Trainer is also holding his microphone and trying to coach me at the same time. And as of late he’s been layered under blankets because Texas has decided it’s a winter state now. Seems cruel to ask him to video. Someday I will wrangle someone into taking a few clips, but that day has not come yet.
In October we started working more on haunches-in, which built up into renvers and half pass. We go home and work on the same exercises and combination of exercises that we do in lessons, and Henry has very quickly gotten quite good at some of this more complicated lateral work. Especially half pass.
For some reason he’s a bit of a savant about this particular movement. It’s gotten easier and easier, and better and better, on a very steadily upward trajectory that is uncommon for horses in general and this horse in particular. The half pass work at both the trot and canter on Wednesday got several “excellent”s from Dressage Trainer. We don’t generally get that word very much. Along with this little breakthrough, Henry’s started to get stronger in general and offer more “sit” in his canter. The connection issues that we used to have are pretty much gone and I can actually ride him UP into my hand most of the time.
Well, unless he’s tense, which definitely still happens sometimes. Once he’s tense he just locks up his back and pretty much everything goes out the window in a heartbeat. I’m not sure that’ll ever change about him, to be honest. Which is why horse shows are always a mixed bag. The work at home though, it’s gotten so much better… it’s like the more complicated we make it, the better he does.
The strangest thing that has come out of this little re-dedication to the dressage work is that we’re finally to the point where I’m starting to… dare I say… enjoy it.
Now that Henry has more buttons to play with, so to speak, our rides are a lot more complex, which makes them more fun to me. Too bad they won’t be putting half pass into these eventing Training level dressage tests anytime soon, that would really help me out. It has made me want to branch out a little and experiment with some more complicated tests, though, even if it’s just at home. The challenge is stimulating to me in a way that dressage hasn’t ever been before. Up to this point it’s kinda just been one big aggravating snoozefest. No offense.
I still can’t imagine doing only dressage, the jumping part is too fun, but I’m starting to get a little more into it now. Lessons are something I look forward to instead of something that feels like an obligation. I kinda feel like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole of dressage.
We’re signed up to try Prelim A at a small schooling show this weekend, mostly just for funsies. I haven’t actually ridden the whole test all the way through yet, and I won’t get a chance to try it in an arena before we get there so it might be shit, but that’s ok. We’re just playing around really, and taking the opportunity to get in the sandbox.
Now if only we could start getting some of this “at home” Henry to show up in the ring, we’d actually be cooking.