Dressage is Actually Fun

In the last few days, I have had the best rides on Duke in months. We had gotten to a point where we were stuck, unmotivated and I was honestly confused about how to move forward.

This is how every ride has felt lately

Then I went to audit an Allison Springer clinic and it was awesome. It totally transformed our success in riding. And the best part is, nothing she said was earth-shattering. It was just plain good riding with a few different tools to add to the box. 

Leg, Seat, Hand

I mean, I knew that I was supposed to ride leg to seat to hand but it was a great reminder, and Allison repeated this a lot. Duke responds well to it, which is super. I, however, often fall victim to the very human tendency to snatch with my hands. When I don’t, things go better. 

I had a dressage lesson last night, and Trainer B brought back from the clinic the idea of a working turn on the forehand. We got Duke to step up and under with his inside hind, and through with his outside hind. This then translated into smoother leg yields and a softer neck, with wonderful connection. 

Perhaps the last time we actually had left bend | Photo: Xpress Foto

We solved the problem of the Mysterious Disappearing Left Bend which has been plaguing us since September, and the new trick where Duke pops his shoulders to the inside while simply walking a straight line. And I even got him to canter in a beautiful, uphill manner, without going with his hip to the inside.

In Trainer B’s words at the end of the lesson, “You had a lot of really brilliant moments!” 

And it was true. It was maybe the best dressage ride I’ve ever had. I could actually push my hands toward the bit, and Duke was carrying himself in the connection. He was supple, he was forward, he was powerful. It felt like magic. 

When it all goes right, dressage is so fun.


8 thoughts on “Dressage is Actually Fun

  1. Dressage is fun. I mean I am a dressage rider so it better be fun or my life would be a misery. Leg before hand is the way to go and I’ve been told that about 9000 times. When I do it and I actually ride that way it is amazing.

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    1. It’s funny how we can be told something so often and then one day it feels like a revelation! My trainer has said that many times too – but it is strangely hard to do! I agree dressage is fun, but it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of that when we also jump over things 😉

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  2. lol there’s something so strangely addictive about dressage. like we work so so so hard for like, ONE fleeting moment of something that felt incredible – all the pieces finally clicking together!! – then right back to working working working trying to get that feeling back, invite it in, ask it to stay awhile lol….

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