Dressage Camp Wrap Up

Although I'm tardy in posting, I want to re-cap the dressage camp lessons so I can crystallize them in my mind.

Main Equitation Points I Need To Focus On:
  1. Keep my legs back, they creep forward
  2. Keep my knees off of him - although I don't grip with my knees, even having them lie against him seems to block him. It will require having my toes slightly turned out in order to keep my knees very light. When I get it right he is much more forward. 
  3. Keep my shoulders down and back - have 'good boobies' as Jane Fraser (who gave me lunge lessons) calls it :) 
  4. Stretch UP from my abdomen to my neck. This improves everything. For example, it is much easier to sit to Rogo's trot when I do this.
  5. Do rising trot by bending and unbending my knees, not rising off the ball of my foot. This will keep my heels down.
  6. Keep my hands down! Hold the bucking strap if need be to keep them from going up. Hold my whip correctly so I don't pull the reins if I tap.
  7. Tuck my butt under me.
That's it for the main improvement areas.

Training Exercises and Lessons Learned
  1. Forward, forward, forward - he needs to learn new muscle memories of going strongly forward. He likes to do it once we get warmed up and he gets the idea.
  2. To get a better connection bend him, either on a circle or going large. Support this with an inside leg to outside rein. Do this is all three gaits.
  3. Balance with a circle at each end when riding in the arena. Begin and end many / most movements with a circle. Ride well into the corners before picking up the circle, using the inside leg and outside rein.
  4. Ride lots of figure eights and three loop serpentines in trot. Sometimes walk across the center line in the serpentine loops. This helps school half halts.
  5. Always stay active, forward, straight in the down transitions - no wandering around after cantering just because I'm tired :)
  6. Keep the walk marching, always.
  7. Leg yield aid is inside leg and outside rein simultaneously when inside hind is off the ground. Do leg yield toward both the track and the center line. 
  8. Do working trot circles at each end, and ask for lengthening down the long side between them.
That's my summary of equitation lessons and training exercises. They've really helped us. Next post I'll talk about the effect it's had on us - results.


Great notes! Thanks for taking the time to post them.

Speaking of keeping your shoulders down and back... I saw your comment over at CONTACT re her "shoulders of a princess - hips of a whore" quote. LOL! I feel the same way ;)
Jan said…
Carol, What great notes you have written! I especially love, and need, the ones about "good boobies" and stretching from the abdomen to the neck. Both of those are good, easy to remember guidelines. I also liked your simple, clear training items, especially the one about circling on the short end and on the long sides of the arena asking for a longer stride. Great list!
All good points. Just reading them I could check off a few things I do. I'm guilty of having my legs creep forward sometimes too.