Friday, January 6, 2012

In which I ponder the necessity for dressage.

Ok.  I admit it.  I think dressage is really a four letter word.  And I think my dressage instructor is the Queen of Darkness.  And I am not at all sure that it was a wise thing to engage a USDF Grand Prix rider to help out with driven dressage. Isn't driven dressage all about the hats and the outfits anyway?

 The Queen of Darkness keeps coming up with all these ideas that would make the average combined driver roll over in the grave.  Leg yield, rapid fire transitions from the shoulder fore position, upper body positioning (mine), shoulder positioning (his), canter transitions (we don't even canter in driven dressage until Advanced - Hellooo), canter work to strengthen back muscles and build topline, thumbs on top, don't collapse your ribcage, stop contorting your body to the left, get him more on the outside rein, yes I know he is heavy right now - it's where he is at, six pack pony abs, half halt from your stomach. . .

The latest torture was the introduction of a shallow serpentine at the canter.  Seriously.  In preparation for mastering the counter canter.  Inside shoulder back.  Half halt on the third beat.  I can't count that fast - this is a 13.2 pony after all! What do you mean you want this driven from the outside rein.  Brynnie - are you listening to ANY of this?  Think you might cooperate a little???

And yet. . . I have been working with Queenie for about four months.  Pony boy is getting six pack abs.  I can sit up straight, keep my thumbs on top.  He can actually use his back - the space between the back strap and his back is miniscule.  All this in a forward frame with throughness.  And how we laugh.  She has the best phrases - his hind quarters are not just a friend following closely behind.  Expand the toolbox.  If all you have is a screwdriver then everything has to look like a screw. 

So, after yesterday's beat down, I will gird my loins, put to the presentation carriage and head back out for another round.  Because, just like his eventing cousins, Brynnie's ability to make those quick turns, and hold the line in smooth arcs really does all begin in the dressage court.


  1. I love it, but I want to see pictures of you riding!! Or are you doing all those exercises while driving?

  2. No ma'am! With the carriage. And a pony who either ignores or over-reacts to the whip. Much more challenging!!