There’s only so long that I can putz around pretending to be a cowboy before I literally want to dissolve myself in a pit of acid. I’ve never been under the delusion that I’m destined for Western Pleasure greatness and working on Ezhno’s lope has been like watching paint dry, so it was time for a change of pace.
I’ve never done a dressage test. Training 1 is very straightforward, though, so I broke it into pieces, rode each section separately, and then stitched it all together once or twice before I had LeaserS come video us.
Ezhno’s never done dressage before, either, so I’m actually pretty proud of this! There’s a lot of stuff that we need to work on, but I think this is a great representation of where we’re at now and the things we need to work on to improve the overall picture we present in Training 1.
════ THINGS WE NEED TO IMPROVE ════
He’s still super behind my leg. Any movements that looked wonky were usually because he was sucking back behind my leg. I thought I had a reasonable amount of horse underneath me until I went to work on some canter stuff after this test was filmed and realized that I had like zero forward.
Better trot-halt-trot transitions. I was kind of annoyed by this one because Ezhno and I practice these all the time and we’d just brushed up on them before we started filming, so imagine my surprise when he stopped wonky and then I had to give him a tap with my crop to get him going forward again. This is a very obvious example of him being behind my leg from the get go.
What the hell is a 20m circle? I’m going to be real: I had no idea what a 20m circle was, so I just did some circles and called it good. It turns out that my arena is 62′ by 132′ and a small dressage court is 66′ by 132′ (or 20m by 40m). That means that we’re pretty close to small court size! It also means a 20m circle is arena width, so my trot circles were too small but my canter circles were close to right.
OMG those canter transitions. Going in and out of the canter was terrible. I was so disappointed by these that I went back and worked on them afterwards. Turns out that if I actually push him in front of my leg, prepare him for the transition, and then hold him to higher standards, these turn out much better. His downwards weren’t horrible (he flinch spooked from a weird noise during one of them so it looked super terrible tho), they just need to be more forward so that he lifts into the trot instead of falling into it.
Consistency at the canter. One moment we were barely in the canter, the next moment he was surging forward like a loon. We need to find our working canter and then work on keeping it consistent.
More ground coverage in the free walk. All that performance training means that he’s pretty good at stretching his neck out when I slip him my reins, but his free walk closely resembles his medium walk. We had a couple of good steps in there, but for the most part it was too pokey.
════ SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ════
Going through Training 1 was a great way to give myself stuff to work on with Ezhno. Even though he doesn’t like to jump (and is seriously uncoordinated over even the tiniest of cross rails), this is something that he and I can do together that we both enjoy! He’s not fancy enough to get very far (maybe the end of first level?), but I love that it gives us concrete goals to work towards.
Eagle Mountain has a dressage schooling show on November 19th, so depending on how things are going with Raglan I might hit that up with Ezhno—we’ll have to see where the autumn takes us.