Monday, August 26, 2013

Dressagin' It Up

It's been dressage rides the last couple of days. I've been riding Misty mostly western recently, besides the couple jumping schools thrown in, so I thought it would be good to go back to dressage for a little bit and work on contact and moving forward.

Dressage in western boots because I've "temporarily misplaced" my Dubarry's :(

She's been doing really good. She's still not a huge fan of contact, I'm kind of looking around for a softer bit, maybe a rubber snaffle or something with a thicker mouthpiece, but she's doing oodles better working on moving forward into contact. I've been asking her to really go for a big trot and canter, pushing her out of her more western-y but not quite movement and it feels awesome. She really, really wants to break into the canter when we're trotting, but after a few times of bringing her back down, she settles into a nice forward trot. Cantering... she gets grumpy when I ask for more forward. But we're working on it.

It's going to be back to western for her for the next few weeks. Cows on Wednesday then the 12th-14th we have possibly a Ranch Versatility show or two. 

Jazz is also getting the dressage treatment. She too has an amazing trot but her canter is just sort of "eh". Her canter's never been her best feature, we were always working for more "jump" and roundness and after not being asked for that in a year... well, she's trying. I just don't think she has the muscles for it at the moment, but it will come. Her trot though... I love it. We could probably almost go back out and start showing at First Level again.

Then today, I tried out ponying Misty for the first time. I figure that I have a horse to pony off of for once (I do not trust ponying off of Jetta quite yet...) but with Jazz it's no big deal. In fact, I can let go of the reins and steer with my legs while using both hands to hold onto Misty since I was in the dressage saddle, thus no saddle horn to dally onto. Misty was fine with it, but didn't want to trot. If we're going to go trail riding, I'm going to want to trot, so this was something she has to learn. I'd ask Jazz to trot and use both hands to hold onto the rope and drag Misty along. Once she started trotting = instant slack in the lead rope and she would trot along happily with Jazz and I. By the end of our session I barely had to use any pressure at all on the lead rope to get her to trot along. A double trail ride is definitely in our future :)

I promise that they were more enthused than they look in this picture

Then I finished it off by mounting Misty from Jazz's back and walking around on Misty and ponying Jazz. Jazz was not amused by this change of events, but plodded along willingly. Misty thought it was all fine and dandy - she got to lead! I just had to make sure, that way if something happens on the trail and I need to switch horses I know I won't have a problem!

Overall, a good day at the barn. Misty got her mane all braided up and Jazz got a nice bath. Both girls are looking good!

Pretty day today that felt like fall. I'm not ready for summer to be over!


  1. Have you tried a happy mouth with her? The appy I trained for awhile was really unsteady about contact with a metal bit, but kept his head and connected much steadier with a happy mouth. It was kind of funny to me that he liked the fat plastic mouth bit so much even though he'd been trained his whole life in regular snaffles or a western curb. In fact when I sold him the happy mouth went with him since I had no horses of my own to use it on. He was kind of eh in my myler comfort snaffle, he tolerated it about as well as any other snaffle.

    Ironically my TB, with his sensitive mouth, plowed completely through the happy mouth, hated the French link with a passion, but loved his fat lightweight loose ring snaffle. Miss my boy so much, that bit just hangs in my collection and may never go on another horse.

  2. Good to here that everything's doing good.

  3. You have the coolest horses :) I'm jealous of the ranch versatility show! Have always wanted to do that.

  4. I agree with Lauren, I love the ranch versatility stuff!!

  5. AnEnglishRider - yeah, that's what I'm thinking of getting her, I think she'll like it (I hope), just hoping to run across a barely used or sale one...

    Thanks SheMovedtoTexas - I must admit to being biased, but they are pretty cool :)

  6. Try the rubber bit, I have found very few horses that aren't happy with that bit :-)