Getting In The Flatwork Groove

Love these colors on him, plus he is SHEDDING! So ready to not have a 2-tone pony anymore...
My last two rides on Dino have been absolutely awesome.

I gave him the day off on Sunday to recover from XC schooling, and we spent a good chunk of the day painting jump standards to get the jump field ready to go sometime this week or next. Everything has a nice coat of bright white paint on it now, and colorful stripes will be added to the poles next.

On Monday I hopped on with the plan to do some flatwork, and I discovered that the area behind the cornfield where I've been riding is just about perfectly flat. Because of the warm, sunny weather we've been having lately it's also nice and dry - ideal for getting some dressage work done!

Dino was so perfect and wonderful out there that I was only riding for maybe 20 minutes.

He was so light off my leg, soft in the bridle, responsive, and focused. Everything I asked him to do, he said, "Sure thing!" After a few minutes of walk/trot/canter around the field, a circle here and there, and some lengthenings, I called it a day. Dino was fabulous. I was more than happy to let him be done!

Yesterday my barn owner and I had planned to ride together, so we headed back out to the nice flat field to do some dressage work. She has only just started taking dressage lessons with our trainer recently, and I just need someone to yell at me to stop doing weird things with my body, so it was great to be able to help each other!

This is happening in my house right now. 
At first, Dino was using Sully's presence as an excuse to ignore my leg and get out of working. I don't know why, but he always performs much better when he's the only one in the ring. Like rider like pony, eh?

After some good pony-club thumps, I got him trotting and he transitioned right into "work mode" for me. And was just about perfect. Again!

Dino has been a liiiiittle TOO light in the bridle at times lately, and not as through as I'd ideally like him to be, but he's improved SO much in his attitude and obedience. I ask, he says, "Yes ma'am!" I love it! Adding in some stretchy trot and free walk to our warmup definitely helped him be a little more solid in the connection, and he was great about not getting inverted when I asked him to bring his neck back up. Since he is so much more game and forward at home, I'm finding I don't have to use the super-wide hand stance as often to get him to bend. So nice!

Lateral work was the name of the game yesterday, and after Dino was nice and loose from his warmup I started with leg yields both ways at the walk. I felt like he was getting a little stuck in the leg yield at times, but they were some of the straightest he's ever given me, so I was okay with that. We then moved on to shoulder-in and haunches-in at the trot. The field we were working in was farmed at one point, so you can still see the (super-straight) rows where crops used to be planted. It is AWESOME for working on straightness! I could use the lines to put Dino's shoulders in one place, and his haunches in another, and he was really working hard for me. To the right, as always, he wanted to fall in a LOT, but dropping my whip down at his right shoulder really helped him stand up more on that side.

Scruffy is helping break up the text wall. 
Dino was so on point yesterday that we even got a little trot half pass both ways! To the left he is BANGIN', to the right it's really hard for him at this point in his fitness, but he put forth a valiant effort and it was pretty darn straight, all things considered. We were really grooving with the lateral work, so I started asking for shoulder-in, a few strides straight, haunches-in, straight. Dino was phenomenal. And THEN, the piece de resistance of the day, I rode shoulder-in left at the trot, straightened him out, asked for canter with just my seat and BAM - seriously kick-ass left lead canter! After straightening himself out and shifting his balance back with the lateral work, Dino gave me an AMAZING canter! I was so, so thrilled with him. We ended the ride with a nice relaxing walk through the tree farm before heading back up to the barn.

My pony is just the best.


  1. Also, props for that most excellent wrap job.

    1. Why, thank you. I am very serious about proper polo wrapping.

  2. What a smashing looking boy! Sounds like you had some excellent work. I am jealous of your dressage skillz.

    1. When Dino is in the right frame of mind, he is amazing!! He could totally go 3rd level if I knew more what I was doing, and if he was more consistent in his willingness :-P

  3. yay!!! sounds like Dino's finally remembering that he can be a fancy dressage pony in addition to a jumping machine! that flat riding area with all the straight lines sounds super convenient too. i always get all topsy turvy trying to do flat work on terrain - like how can i go in a straight line with the ground swells and falls away? - so that sounds perfect!

  4. Sounds amazing! I wish I could have some rides on the Dino-pants and feel that awesomeness!!

    1. He is a pretty cool dude if you can get him on a good day! I'd love to see what a 'real' dressage rider could do with him... I just know how to put him together and move his body parts around a bit. :) If you ever find yourself on the East Coast I could definitely arrange a Dino ride!

  5. Sounds like Dino is enjoying his new home!


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