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.|
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!|
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.
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.