Tuesday, April 3, 2012

dressage pony

Shyloh had her second dressage lesson today. It was another great lesson. Beth makes it look so easy to ride Shy that I just want to hop up there and get going. But then I remember that I have no idea what I am doing and we would be a disaster!

Beth started with doing some in-hand work with Shy. She attached some side reins to help Shy get into her headset and worked using her hand in the place that her calf would be as the inside leg, while keeping contact with the outside rein. Funny thing: Shy is such a stickler for the "rules" that she went fine when Beth was on the "correct" side of Shy, but when she moved to the other side Shy refused to move! Beth was gently tapping her with a dressage whip, which when used on the other side sent Shy into a boot-scooting frenzy, but on the "wrong" side, Shy would not budge! After quite some time, Beth got Shy to move those legs.
Once Beth got on Shy, she commented that the groundwork relaxed Shy and they did not go through the normal tenseness that Shy does during a warm up. Shy immediately worked on dropping her head, smart pony!! But once Beth asked to to pick up the trot, Shy had a much harder time lowering her head.  They worked a ton on walk/trot transitions. Shy needs to learn to use her rear and work muscles that have not been in use. 

Beth also tried to post the trot, but Shy had no idea what Beth was doing and it was making Shy nervous, so Beth just sat the trot. The fast trot make Shy tired quick, but she kept working and doing what Beth asked. By the end, Shy even managed to work up a slightly damp girth area. I swear it takes a lot for this horse to sweat!

Here is the video I put together of the lesson. Beth said Shy has done 80% better today. She likes the thinking work that dressage offers. Shy likes to figure out what Beth is asking her to do. I am glad we decided to try this route with her!
The hard part for me is learning the dressage vocabulary. I do like the way Beth explains it and I like how Beth is using a more classical and European approach. It is much simpler and does not use all those crazy contraptions to get the desired results. She takes her time and makes sure Shy is getting one concept before moving on. If Shy is having trouble with something, like lowering her head at the faster trot, Beth breaks it up into smaller steps so that Shy is successful and is able to put it together. It is really amazing to watch! 

Can you see improvement by the end of the lesson?


  1. She looks so good - I love watching her trot!
    Funny that she knows 'right' and 'wrong' side and gets huffie about it!

  2. Looks like you and Shy have a great trainer, Allie. This is big fun!

  3. Funny story- the very first time I got my boy to trot under saddle I automatically started posting. He immediately slammed on the brakes and asked me what the heck I was doing. Took a while to get him past that. With Gwen I made sure to get her used to me standing in the stirrups before she ever trotted, when she got going posting didn't bother her at all.

  4. Go Shy! I'm glad she's enjoying the dressage training. :D It's good for her. I'm also glad you have Beth to teach both of you. :)


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