In Which We Continue To Crush It In The Dressage Court

First, let's admire how FREAKIN' GORGEOUS my pony is!!!

This pony is REALLY diggin' the dressage lately!

We had a lackluster conditioning ride on Monday afternoon. It was hot as literal hell outside, the ground is super hard, and Dino was just Not A Fan of the idea of trot sets that day. We did however get about 40 minutes of hill work in with some short canters on what softer ground I could find, and Dino obliged to focus on me instead of being a rubbernecking llama, so I'd at least count that as a success.

Last night after waiting for the sun to get a little lower, and thus mildly cooler than the surface of Mercury, we ventured back to the dressage ring.

How we feel about working when it's 600 degrees and 10,000% humidity.
Dino started out a little bit behind the leg, and I thought for a moment that our magical ride the other night was just a fluke, and I wouldn't be able to get him back to that level of brilliance.

I was also feeding into his laziness by allowing myself to nag him instead of insisting on an appropriate response to my leg, but thankfully I noticed I was doing it quickly enough to correct the problem. Nagging never helps anything!

I used the same approach that had worked so well for us during our last dressage ride: begin with clear intentions and expectations, and build each gait up in balance & quality before moving forward. Dino needed some time to really get loose at the walk, but once he did it was absolutely lovely. Remember how at the beginning of the season I had a lot of issues with keeping the loose swing in his back in going from free walk to working walk? That problem is a thing of the past, my friends. EuroPony and I are really communicating wonderfully at the walk lately, and I can bring his frame up without losing the shwung or tempo. It is an AWESOME feeling to feel like all I'm doing is putting Dino's power in a smaller vessel vs. shutting down his energy when I pick up the reins.

I just can't with the cuteness!
Our trot work started off much more correct than what I started with on Monday, with Dino going round right from the get-go instead of wanting to warm up in trot with his nose poking into the sky. As always, it took some time for him to really get moving forward, but once he did Dino felt fantastic - round, forward, responsive, soft - everything a dressage pony should be!

The canter was also quite good, but again, I know this pony needs time to warm up so our first canters weren't optimal. I did, however, commit to really insisting that he step into the canter with his back up, instead of flinging his head in the air and hollowing out for the first stride or so, and got some nice departs for my efforts.

After we had cantered a bit on both leads, Dino was nice and warmed up and ready to really work. I wanted to focus more on the canter, since while the canter is definitely ROUND most of the time, it isn't always THROUGH, and Dino tends to get a little retracted and stuck in the canter when I ask him to go on the bit. On the right lead he was really lovely, very soft in the bridle, back up, but not really powering over his topline. The left lead started out in a similar fashion, but as I pushed Dino to open his body a bit, suddenly I got several strides of the most through, powerful canter he's given me yet! It was VERY exciting and VERY short-lived, but it was so encouraging to know that the canter I'm looking for is in there.

the best.
We worked on a little bit of counter-canter, which was incredible and lofty and uphill, and ended with some more fantastic trot work which included some of Dino's newly-discovered amazing medium trot, as well as a gorgeously light-and-fluffy left leg yield UP A HILL.

Dino was SO engaged and trying SO hard that I was able to push him a bit past the point where he started to get tired without his brain frying and things totally falling apart. It was such a treat to feel Dino step up to the plate as my partner for the dressage, and really give it all he's got.

I am having so much fun in the sandbox! Hopefully after it rains a bit on this hard ground I will be able to have just as much fun over fences.


  1. I love that you were able to get such an accurate reading on the temperature and humidity. That's pretty impressive :)

    YAY to great dressage rides! And that "light and fluffy" leg yield must have felt dreamy!

  2. Woohoo!! Sounds like he's doing super well these days! Ugh the heat, we're apparently going to be in the high 90s/low 100s for a while. And then I work right near the water so it's freezing at work and unbearably hot at home/barn, yuck. Luckily we don't get so much humidity over here.

    1. It helps that my feel is also getting a lot better! This year I've been able to go from "good" to "better" in the flatwork department because Dino's gotten a lot stronger and in front of the leg, but I've also learned how to get his body where it needs to be! I'm getting access to all this awesome work that I've never had before and it's awesome!

  3. yay gooooo Dinooooo!!! he just sounds like the most funnest pony EVAR when he's that engaged with the ride

    1. He is SO FUN when he's into his work! I just ride around with a big stupid smile on my face.


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