Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dressage clinic recap and reflection

Over the weekend I attended a Lou Denizard dressage clinic http://delantedressage.com/

He comes in every 2 months to Greystone Equestrian Center and is capable of teaching 4th level work.  What I like about him is that he seems willing to work with any breed of horse and type of rider. In the clinic there were several warmbloods, two arabians, a fjord, and a shire.  He had heavy emphasis on being even and through in both reins and helped several riders step the level of their work and their understand of what is correct and what is really correct.  He also focused on the egagement of the hind legs, asking the horses to step evenly with both legs in the transitions into the trot and canter.  He did quite a bit of counter canter work as well. 

On my Monday ride I tried to be aware of how even Annie was in the reins.  She likes to hide from the right rein and it takes lots of activation to get her to step into them evenly.  Lou had a rider leg yield two strides onto and off the rail a few times to make the horse more even and this was a good exercise for me to practice. 

I saw lots of really great sitting trot work so I did most of my trot work sitting.  Annie is a good barometer of my ability to really sit and if I'm bouncing around she will jog like a western pleasure horse with her nose BTV making grumpy faces.  Only when my seat is still will she step up the level of her trot.  She's a bit of a smartass and will "test" me by trotting more and more forward until I lose my position and get bounced loose.  Then she slams to a halt with a big sigh.  Last night she even offered up a medium trot down the long side, followed by a buck halt transition when I got out of position. 

Her forward energy was difficult to capture and I had to work hard to not let it leak out the front door.  When I captured it I had lots of power from her engine to manage.  Half the ride she felt fantastic and the other half she jack hammered away with her nose in the air. 

I had some really nice shoulder in work as well but her canter was a bit of a hand gallop.  I'm steering clear of lead changes until I have someone's eye on the ground and I feel like she isn't going to get out of hand. 

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