I have struggled with dressage with Spot for oh, probably the last 1.5 years of our partnership. We really started to work on dressage when I started taking lessons with Trainer M regularly and our main goal was to be able to have Spot work correctly and be more relaxed. Coming from a polo background, relaxation is not a thing for Ms. Potato; neither is working into contact (unless its dragging you to the polo ball) or working over her back (does bucking bc she’s pissed at you for missing the ball count?).
Over the last year though, Spot has gotten much better about contact now that she realizes I’m not going to yank on her mouth. She has had moments where she does work over her back and relaxes into the work, but those moments have been fleeting.
Then she got injured and everything came grinding to a halt for a bit. Then while going back to work she was having some stifle issues and needed to get stronger. We have done about 2.5 weeks of trot poles, walking up and down little hills, and straight line trotting up to this point. Spot felt more rhythmic and relaxed over trot poles, and she over all looked beefier.
Then this past week, things I think things clicked and came together for us. Spot was good in the contact from the get go, my hands were steady and with her, and then suddenly we had a lovely, forward trot. No fussing with the head, no giraffe neck, my hands weren’t shoving downward, and I wasn’t dropping the contact. AMAZE.
When I would ask her to be a bit more forward, instead of throwing her head up in protest, she proceeded to surge forward and come more into my hand. She moved out big, but wasn’t rushing and for the stayed soft in her jaw, when she did lock up a bit I was able to supple her and she went back to being soft. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!
I was pretty amazed and so ecstatic. I went out the next day kinda expecting our previous awesome ride to have been a fluke, but lo and behold we had another great ride.
Have Spot and I started to figure this Dressage thing out?! Maybe?!
I’ve been so pleased with her attitude and willingness so hopefully this was a big turning point for us!