After my own pony almost ate me alive, I managed to fit in a ride yesterday. 

It was grossly hot and humid, around 90, heat index of Lord-Knows-What, but I was really good about listening to my body and not over-doing it, and managed to end my ride feeling pretty good and not about to puke. Victory! 

the most handsome
Dino and I worked on our dressage, and again I really tried to focus on maintaining the roundness & relaxation he has in a stretchy frame when moving into a working frame. My good friend Katie had suggested I try riding him with a driving rein instead of a normal hold. I had tried the driving rein earlier in the week and wasn't thrilled with the results, but I decided to give it another go, since few things in riding are miracle quick-fixes.


I was vastly more pleased with how Dino went when I used the driving rein hold yesterday. Even in our warm-up, a time when I usually let him poke around kind of inverted (So bad! I know!) he was stretching softly into my hand. The driving rein also gave me a really good idea for how the contact should feel when holding my reins normally... a much "straighter" feel in my arms and wrists and somehow more solid - yet more following - at the same time. I noticed my hands also bobbed around less with the driving rein. Some interesting things to think about as far as contact goes! 

because I haven't shared a ridiculous selfie in a while...

Eventually I switched back to a normal rein hold, keeping in mind the good contact feel I had created with the driving rein. Dino wanted to get inverted almost immediately when I asked him to put himself together at first, but eventually we reached something of a compromise. I did some trot poles on a big loopy circle, shortening my reins little by little every time we went around. The poles helped engage Dino's hind end and lift his back, so that when I shortened up his frame, he was already starting to go round on his own. 


I also did some work in sitting trot, which was pretty great. Our leg yeilds in the trot have gotten MUCH straighter; there's a lot less leading with the shoulder going on. Dino also seems to find it easier to package himself up when I sit as opposed to posting, and I was able to achieve some really nice moments of him really stretching into my hand and powering forward from behind. Progress! There was also some good, round work in the left lead canter, which has been tough for the pony lately because of his on-again-off-again locking right stifle, but it's finally getting stronger and he can hold himself together in the left lead canter for longer periods of time. 

Sometimes I get frustrated at how slowly we seem to be progressing, and wish that I could afford regular lessons, but I'm really learning a lot doing things on my own. I'm having to figure out how to be the best rider and trainer I can be day by day, and though I definitely make mistakes, when I look back at where we were a year, two years, three years ago, I see that both Dino and I have come a long way!


  1. OMG I love that colored padded halter on Dino. SO EPICLY ADORABLE!

    1. Thanks!! It's from Smartpak, and still looks brand new even though I bathe him in it and everything!

  2. Replies
    1. I try to maintain a strong selfie game.


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