Dressage Club

This weekend we had our first dressage club rally of the year. I loved it so much last year I obviously had to go back for more, so Coolie got to come along for the first time. 

At this point, Henry has had 2 rides bak after hurting his leg, which brings us up to 4 in the last 6 weeks. He is not fit enough and I want to be very careful in bringing him back in. Plus we have tie on our side to do it properly and hopefully get him to a good point for him to then have another holiday. 

He had to lick his breakfast bucket clean before I put his bridle on

So Coolie got to come along instead, and I think he rather enjoyed it, even if it was dreaded dressage. He was much less enthused about going on the float this weekend, but he unloaded at the other end like a fire breathing dragon. He grew about a hand and was snorting, until I put food in front of him and he went right back to normal. 

We signed up for two lessons, 1 40 minute shared session and a 20 minute private. I wasn't sure how I would go doing 2 lessons, as last year they were quite hard work, especially the private. I took Andrew along with me (not that I had a choice, I was told he was coming to help and then I got bossed about a whole lot 😳). I shared my first session with a para rider though, and this worked really well! Both horses are older gentlemen, but can get rather enthusiastic and their riders can't do as much as they would like to.

Look at his neck!

We had a coach we had lots last year and so I introduced Coolie, let her know that dressage is not his favourite but that he is perfectly capable. Our biggest issues currently are straightness and getting Coolie to stretch so I let her know that too. She quickly identified some of my problems as a rider and so we spent the session largely working on those. It was really helpful to have a tune up, and it helped Coolie work so much better! it would seem that as I haven't been having regular lessons, some of my habit have been creeping back in. They were easy to fix and maintain though.

One of the big things the coach saw was Coolie losing his rhythm, especially on a circle at the trot. So I counted out the rhythm constantly and suddenly I was better in my position, not nagging and being more effective and he was into the contact better and off the leg more. 

The other major thing we touched on was canter transitions. Coolie always goes hollow and throws himself into them, and he reacts majorly as soon as I put my outside leg back. So we worked on me putting my leg back and him doing nothing. He caught on pretty quick, and it improved the transitions immensely. 

We briefly touched on turns on the haunches as well, and I was reminded how wonky my body was. We got some good ones though and then we were done!

I had 20 minutes between my lessons so we all went and got some water and snacks before we headed back out. We spent the second lesson working on our canter transitions and again they improved further. We got a few good ones on each rein and called it a day.

Coolie was so fabulous all day, he was absolutely up to do his best and he has improved so much already. He looks fabulous too, and his topline looks really good for him! 


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