Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass-part 3

So I am not much of an autograph person, but I realized, I had my notebook with me, and so I had Charlotte autograph my notes!

This is a continuation of my notes of a 2 day clinic, Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass – part 2

Day 2 notes.

The 4 YO.

  • Stretch young horses at the end of sessions, begin with 15 minutes of walk, 10-15 minutes of stretching, then work.
  • Look for a swinging tail
  • forward and forward thinking
  • Don’t ride with the hand brake on
  • Canter
    • forward and back
    • leg yield to rail to shoulder fore
    • counter canter, when the young horse falls out of counter canter, go from corner letter to X, pick up the counter canter, so H to X, right lead to K in counter canter.
  • Don’t stop as a correction!


  • short horses – make them longer
  • long horses – make them shorter
  • Shoulder fore must come from moving the shoulder, not bending
  • Use rising trot posting to slow, not hands

The 8 YO 4th level horse

  • It is easier to teach a horse to be lighter and back off the bit than to teach one to reach forward and pull
  • Exercise
    • Travers
    • shoulder fore
    • travers
  • Point the horse’s nose at the marker, where you want him to go
  • From canter walk, the first stop of walk is stepping forward, not pulling back.
  • Travers on a circle  – keep pushing the neck out, not pulling it back.
  • If you don’t ride a good corner, your movement does not start out good
  • Test riding is important, don’t lose marks by being inaccurate.  Learn a 8m circle for PSG.  Note to self: set up cones for an 8m circle in ring at home

Next rider, the 16 YO mare

  • Shorten reins (again, was this me???)
  • Reins short, ears up
  • Don’t let the horse take over in pirouette
  • Changes – that counting again
    • Change – 2 – 3 – 4
    • Change – 2 – 3
    • Change – 2
  • PSG Trot work
    • Don’t slow down in half pass
    • get a good 8m circle
    • massage the bit
    • Exercise
      • come out of corner
      • shoulder in to E/B
      • 8m circle
      • half pass to center line to A/C
      • back to corner, rinse repeat
      • Do the other direction

Last ride, the PRE stallion

  • Canter zig zags
    • the counting again
      • Over – 2 – 3 – 4 – straight – change
      • 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6
  • Tempis
    • Don’t do the hokey pokey – don’t swing your body side to side/twisting
    • Sometimes the harder you use your leg, the stiffer they get
  • Canter pirouettes on center line
    • start small – get bigger, not start big and get smaller…
    • come in on shoulder fore, starting small…let it get bigger
  • What you hate doing is what you need to practice.
  • All halts should be square.  ALL.
    • when fixing the halt, require immediate reaction to the leg to step forward.

Overall, this was an amazing clinic.  All the horse and rider pairs were harmonious, all worked hard, the pairs selected were a good representation of the kinds of training problems we all encounter with different horse types.

I just finished a month of rest for my back, and it helped, so now it is back to my own riding.  I have goals this year, but that is for another post.

If you have a chance to watch (or even better ride!!!!) with Charlotte, do it.  She is funny, observant, and there is a reason she’s broken all records.

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Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass – part 2

Part one was here: Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass Notes – young horses

Next horse was an 8 YO Dutch warmblood gelding, 4th level.  Charlotte mentioned that this was a hot horse and had been quite excited the day before.  Apparently the pairs all had had a day at the venue to get acclimated and Charlotte was there to see them and have an introduction outside of the public forum.  This horse was already warmed up, so they started off with shoulder-in.

  • Shorter reins, more energy in half halt, more leg.
  • Don’t be afraid of his power, the horse has a good engine and expression, start using it in work.
  • Get outside your comfort zone
  • In shoulder in
    • The angle must stay the same throughout the movement, no change
    • don’t let the reins get longer
    • don’t wobble in the movement
  • Short sides and corners are important, use them to set up for the upcoming movements
  • in forward and back transitions, must not allow the horse to become heavy in the hand.
  • In forward, want overtrack in extension, must not lose ground covering with the full expression of the gait.
  • Hand should stay the same during forward and back.
  • Travers in canter
    • bending through the neck, rider outside leg comes back, inside leg goes forward.
    • keep loose in the hand, no pulling when asking for more angle, do not allow the horse to speed up.
  • Canter exercise shoulder fore to travers to shoulder fore
    • keep contact even in both reins.
    • don’t let the horse get strong in the hand
    • Freshen up the canter as needed.
  • Going into half pass,
    • think shoulder fore coming out of corner
    • not quarters leading
  • when doing back and forth in canter, not a smaller circle when collecting the canter (difference from a young horse to a 4th level horse), shoulder fore a bit.
  • Don’t take a long time to get between canters.

Charlotte rides for a 9 or 10, not a 7.  She doesn’t want to be fairly good.  Learn to feel what is right and what is not.  Don’t always rely on a trainer, having the self discipline to ride for excellence, all the time, is what it takes.  Charlotte has had to work very hard, daily. She didn’t start out good.  She works out with a personal trainer to develop the strength for a good, independent seat and independent hands.

  • Don’t feel defeated when something goes wrong.  Fix it, learn from it.
  •  Changes – this rider felt these were weak
    • started in a 20m square at the end of the arena, turned up center line towards C, stay straight and relaxed,
    • count 1 2 3 change, stay straight.
  • Make the transition into a change very good, just like the young horses, CD made the rider repeat this again and again until it was good, then there was a walk break.  I think we all need work on this.  I know I do, and every rider in this clinic, both days had to work on not just dropping everything when the words “walk break” were uttered.

Next up was a 16 year old Hanoverian mare, a PSG level pair, Charlotte mentioned her preference for mares or geldings, not stallions.  She said that on a 16 year old, we aren’t going to change much, but we can improve what is there.

  •  This rider had a tendency to let her reins get long, I have the utmost sympathy for this, as I do this often.  Charlotte had some humorous lines for this…
    • Your reins are jolly long
    • I could hang my washing on those reins, they are so long
  • When collecting in canter- this was largely pirouette preparation
    • Unless you are asking your horse to speed up when you put your hands forward, she should stay the same.
    • Horse stays lighter, keep it going forward
    • Travers on a 10m circle, hind on 8m.  Stay in travers when going forward.
    • horse has to stay off inside leg when doing pirouette.
  • Half pirouette exercise
    • half pass to X
    • shoulder fore to C/A
    • travers to corner letter on half 10m circle around short side
    • half pass to x, moving the shoulders over.
    • This exercise really focuses on controlling the shoulders.
  • Note to self: do not ride with CD until you master that downward transition into a break!
  • On the 16 year old mare, the habits of poor quality transitions are harder to fix (I’ll resemble this on Bali!)

Charlotte had a moment of discussion on her conditioning/training program.  How much work older horses should do, be careful, do exercises to keep horses supple.

  • Their  horses’ schedule is 4x a week schooling
    • M/Tue schooling the horses.  Grooms and students warm the horses up at the walk for 20 or so minutes before Charlotte (or Carl) get on.
    • Wed – hack day on hard roads and surfaces with hills.
    • Th/Fri school/work
    • Sat – hacking/cantering
    • Sunday – rest/off
  • As in the US, the trainer’s schedule is busier, Charlotte and Carl teach 12 lessons on Wed and Sat/Sun (the horses’ hack and rest days).

Hot horses go out all night, and often right after riding, it usually keeps them better mentally and can do less training, often hot horses will become too fit increasing the risk of injury as they just end up being ridden more.  Their horses do a water treadmill 2x a week as well.  They have a wax surface inside, non-wax outside, they like to work on different surfaces to prepare for competitions where the surfaces are going to vary.

  • On Changes
    • shorter reins
    • activate the canter – not faster, straight
    • Think of the change as being bigger than the canter stride
    • Don’t hold, move the bit, massage the bit in the mouth
    • Rather than pulling down, ask for flexion to the inside, this rider’s reins got too long because the mare was pulling her forward
    • Do less with hands, don’t let reins get too long (I think this could have been me!)
    • Move bit for a little flexion
  • The next horse a rider has will benefit from the mistakes of the prior horse(s). I have found this to be very true! 

Last rider was on a Grand prix PRE Stallion.  He was gorgeous!  Charlotte took away the rider’s whip.  Charlotte commented throughout the clinic on everyone carrying a whip, every ride.  As she is always looking at FEI competition, where a whip is not allowed, she does not carry a whip always.  Riders begin to rely on it too much, instead of the leg.  In my riding I have gone from never carrying a whip, as I wasn’t coordinated enough, to learning to always carry a whip, and now it is time to swing back to sometimes NOT carrying a whip.  The whip is there to help you, not to make the horse go forward.

  • Canter zigzag
    • started prep in canter leg yield, on the long side, not center line.
    • Charlotte likes to count “Over two three four straight change”, the rider counted 1 2 3 4 5 6.
    • Counting changes seems to be something each person finds the way that works best for them, it is good to learn the different styles, that way as I strive to reach grand prix I will find what works for me.
    • Count out loud
  • As they went to a walk break, CD warned “You’ve had a lot of riders to watch…don’t make the same mistake”…”and you did”
  • Tempis –
    • 2’s, off the wall first.
    • “You’d get time faults in your dressage test if they had them” on the horse going too slow.
    • Don’t twist your upper body for the changes.
    • If the horse gets lazy, go for a “yeehaw!” (something I need to put into practice on both Bali & Neuf)
  • Piaffe – CD gave the whip back.
  • You have LOTS of trots, there are transitions between them all
    • collected
    • medium
    • extended
    • working
    • passage
    • piaffe
  • Keep the horse loose in your and and hotter off your leg.

That was the end of day 1, I’ll get to writing up day 2 notes.  There are fewer of them, as much of the instruction/tips was repeated, as is the case for all of us!

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Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass Notes – young horses

I splurged and joined some friends in Lexington, Kentucky the weekend of Jan 20/21, 2018 to audit a Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass.  (Charlotte Dujardin bio). Because I took copious notes, this is too long for a single post.

I have no photos, other than one with Charlotte when I had her autograph my notebook, the page in front of my notes, because I was busy watching and it was prohibited.  Not because there was anything nefarious going on in the training, but because teaching clinics, in person, is Charlotte’s primary income stream, and if all of that is posted online, in the entirety that would impact attendance.  So, with that out of the way on why there is little video and photos…my notes and thoughts.

The participants were chosen based on video applications, so there were training level through Grand Prix rider/horse combinations.  There were no beginner riders, which is quite appropriate.  I have come to realize that when these top level trainers come it is much better for them to train the trainer, so that the benefit is bigger! Every single combination was talented and did a beautiful job, riding with tons of spectators, in a lesson with a very exacting instructor.

Charlotte has a type of horse, and her type has FEI top competition as the goal, so her horse choices need to have that potential.  She likes a the hot & crazy young horses, because they need the staying power for FEI weekends, Grand Prix one day, Grand Prix Special, then the Freestyle on the last day.  She doesn’t want a horse that doesn’t have the energy for the entire weekend.  She wants a horse with good paces, a good temperament, a good rhythmic walk.  Good quality canter, a good hind leg/engine.  She is not worried about the trot as this can be developed and improved.  She feels that the walk needs more attention in training.  Ride it with attention.  The walk is a coefficient in all levels, don’t throw points away by not riding the walk well.

Everyone should be happy to learn that most of the instruction is not new, but like any instruction, timing is everything.  Also, attention to detail, and boy, does Charlotte have that in spades!!!!

The first horse was a 4 1/2 year old warmblood (for competition purposes, this makes him a 5 year old, but I looked him up, he has a June 2013 DOB, so a late foal).   With a 4 year old.

  • The work should be 20-25 minutes in a session
  • don’t compare to the other young horses, every horse develops at their own pace
  • Stretching is very important, but perhaps not right away with every 4YO.  This horse was relaxed and liked to work in a longer frame.
  • Think forward all the time, a horse has his entire life to work on collection.
  • Don’t keep kicking, the horse needs to react to the leg and keep going
  • Ride trot-walk transitions forward
  • Almost ride a transition, but go forward before the walk
  • Be careful not to make the horse stiff with half halts.
  • Don’t sit the trot too early in the horse’s life
  • After working on all these trot/walk/almost walk transitions and going back to working trot, make sure the trot is big enough.  Keep the poll up, go forward, maintain good contact in both reins.
  • When the horse gets stiff, massage the bit in the mouth.
  • Don’t sit on your horse like you think things are going to happen, MAKE it happen.
  • The rider has to help the horse, in a way he’ll learn, not so that the rider is doing it for the horse.
  • Reward work with a break
  • Sit in canter work
  • When going forward, get a bigger stride, not just faster.
  • Straightness in canter is head and neck in the center of the chest, inside hind leg between the front legs.  
  • Shoulder fore is NOT bending.
  • Never correct the horse by pulling up
  • Use legs, not whip, don’t be lazy
  • Rider fitness is very important
  • Have a plan for each ride
  • Don’t overwork
  • Forward is uphill, not long and flat.
  • Test canter by giving reins forward for 3-4 strides,
  • For stretching down at trot, lower wider hand, pushing forward

I could see serious improvement in the uphill carriage after the trot transitions.

The next ride was a 5 YO Dutch Harness Horse.  He was very uphill, almost too much, so the work was going to have to get him to stretch down and move over his back.  He had a good active hind leg, up and underneath his body, Charlotte thought this horse would have good passage and piaffe potential.   This horse tended to get stiff in his neck, he was greener and more unbalanced, by nature, than the first horse, which is ok, each horse develops at his own pace.

  • Keep your leg on a hot horse, leg off a lazy horse
  • Start leg yields on a 3/4 line to rail, a gradual line
    • rhythm of trot does not change
    • ride a slight diagonal line, want horse’s shoulder slightly leading
    • there is no bend in leg yield
    • move the middle of the rib cage over
    • Look where you are going
    • Good exercise is to leg yield to straight to leg yield to straight…
    • If the horse is rushing to the wall, ride straight on the 3/4 line until he waits for the rider.
  • Thumbs on top, no handbag hands, this allows your arms to move.
  • With the hot, upright horse, the goal of a session is to have him stretching long and low, SLOW, not too fast.
  • Stiff side is the side he doesn’t bend as well, hollow side is the direction he overbends.
    • Your job as a rider is to make the horse more supple on the stiff side, don’t just hold him up and allow him to become stiffer.
    • On the hollow side, use some shoulder fore in canter to help.
  • Make every transition a good one.  ALL OF THEM.
  • You learn by making mistakes and doing the things you don’t want to do.
  • Prepare the trot before the canter
  • Pat your horse like you love him!
  • Don’t punish a horse for mistakes, just correct them.
  • Use smaller circles to slow a horse instead of pulling.
  • Don’t scare your horse when he makes a mistake.  Don’t hold his face, he has nothing to hold (I translated this to my “It takes two to pull”)

This combination had a really nice improvement over the course of one lesson.  The horse was much more over the back, longer and lower neck, super end result and what looked like a challenging horse to ride.

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Rider improving – horse tiring

Piedmont Jumper Classic – Day 3

I checked the schedule and entries were even lighter than Friday, so I headed over at 9:20 a.m. They were still in the Low Adults, but the Take 2 TBs were the same course, but at a meter, so I could walk that one.  I texted Katie, and we met to do the course walk.

The lines today weren’t walking quite as exactly as yesterday.  I was walking  two of the bending lines with bend and getting half strides, every time. 8 1/2 or 9? 6 1/2 or 7?  So, Katie helped me, we walked a slightly different path and straightened the 6 1/2 to be 6 and the other was a 9.  The last line was a vertical/oxer to a 4, a little short.

I watched a couple of rounds, then went to get Neuf ready.  I felt good, we had time to walk around, he felt relaxed, and then we went into the warm up.  He used to be super reactive in the warm up, oncoming horses would send him into a buck/spin/bolt, well, that was back.  Usually it is grays, but today, there were a couple of horses that were up and a bit unpredictable and he did NOT want to pass those, and especially not thread the needle.  And there was a super, cute pony in there with us.  With a cute child on top.  That was pretty scary as well.

I was doing pretty good getting forward, then someone would pass us, or cross our path, and there would be an attempt to spin.  At one point, I was off center, lost my damned stirrup again, but did regain the heavier, metal one faster, and he was jumping well.

I went in and had a decent pace, and he stopped at the first oxer.  I corrected him, and went forward enough to get that line in 8, not 9.  The round was pretty good, until the last line, he stopped at the last fence.  I think I might have held a tiny bit too much at the end, but I was surprised at  the stop.  I said “What?!!” And that was the last fence and our second stop, so we were eliminated.

Katie asked what happened at fence 1, and I said I felt him suck back 2 strides out, but he ignored my leg to go more forward.  Then, the last fence, not sure, must have held a tiny bit too much, but she thought he was surprised at it.

I also realized that this was the first time Neuf has shown 3 days in a row.  Usually he would only do two days.  Either Wed/Thur or Thur/Fri.  There might be a bit of fatigue starting to impact his performance.  He is 7, but we don’t do the big shows all that often.  I think the Loudoun Benefit in June was his last big show.  He’s been to 3 schooling shows and some lessons, but that is not the same as a multi-day, multi-ring show with tents, spectators, etc.

Again, I had moments of self doubt, should I do another round?  The first one wasn’t good, the fences would be higher…but Katie reassured me that the height was NOT the issue, and I know that he is usually better the second time.  So, I mentioned that he was being very reactive in the warm up, so her plan was to go do a couple more fences while they were resetting the course for the .90 meter and just go to the gate when the ring was empty.  That worked well, since there is often a gap in the order people sign up to ride.  I had a mostly empty warmup, warned Katie that if we did too many jumps I’d have no horse left, and so we kept it short, and went in after a beautiful oxer.

She told me to go show Neuf that last fence when we first went in, and he was looking at it, so that was a good plan.  I had one rail when I moved up a bit too much between 5 a/b and 6, so no blue ribbon, but it was smooth, we were well within time allowed, and so it was a good end to a multi-day show.

While the third day was not the day I expected, it was really good to go back again and find out how things are different.

I was surprised at the reactivity to the other horses in warm up, that appears to be an evasion.  I’ll keep this in mind and if we’re at a 4 day show, maybe he gets one day off of showing in there, show 2, off 1, show 1…or something like that.  It will take a while to figure out, these shows are expensive, so we only do a handful a year.

The knee rolls may have helped, I didn’t notice them, but I shouldn’t.  The heavier stirrups definitely helped, and at some point I do want to try a few different jumping saddles, but since those are very expensive, I need to save up for that.  The current Albion fits him well, it fits me, I want to see if I’d feel more secure in a different one.

I’d hoped to get to 1.0 meter by the end of the year, and I might, but I need to find a reasonably close show, if not, there is next year and meanwhile, I’ll keep working on the things that make the fence size irrelevant, but when I’m comfortable at a meter there are a lot more showing options available, and definitely more weekend options available.

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Found Forward – lost way

Piedmont Jumper Classic – Day 2

I’d shifted my work schedule around, I’d put in that I was going to be out of office, but would possibly come in, since it was a local show, so I could still stay ahead of email and get some things done, but Friday ended up being a whole day off.

I was able to check the ring status on Horse Shows Online, which has a quirky interface, but mostly works, and I saw the ring was running pretty quick.  This was the first year the show existed so entries were fairly light.  People didn’t know it was here.  I left the farm around 10:30, sent a text to Martin, and found out he couldn’t get there until 12:30 or so.  It was looking like the course walk would happen around 11:30, so I would either walk on my own or tag up with someone else.  I bumped into Katie Swindler and asked if she had time to do the course walk with me, and she did!

The .80 meter class was nice.  All forward, galloping lines, good striding.  The first fence was the oxer we’d had troubles with on Thursday, so that worried me a bit.  Good space to make the turn to the next line, 2 to 3 in six strides, left turn to 4 a/b and 5 to 5, around to the right to 6 a/b with 6 strides to 7, continue right to 8/9 a 6 stride line, back left to the final line in 4 on the judge’s side.  Ride forward out of the turns, think swinging through those turns.

An hour later I am warmed up and it is time to go in and I have forward, we have a good pace.  He stuck a bit at the first fence, but nothing compared to the day before, came around, did 2/3 in 6 strides and turned right.  I quickly realized my error, had the presence of mind to at least not cross my path (add 4 more faults for that!) kept a good pace and rode 4 a/b and 5 to fence 5 and Neuf decides bucking is a great idea facing into the tent.  I lose a stirrup, I get off center, and then I am struggling to get my stirrup back, I end up trotting, get my stirrup back about 2 strides before 6 a/b.  I decide that we aren’t going to be making time, and I can’t power Neuf up fast enough, so I circled, took the 4 faults, and then finished the course getting all the strides right!!!!

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit rattled by the bucking and almost falling off, I momentarily thought of scratching the .90 meter.  But I didn’t.  Martin got me some more water, the course was reset and I did 2 fences and went in again, earlier than initially planned, since Martin had to walk his course in the main ring.

This time was great.  Although in 8/9 I had seven?!? strides, not 6, so I knew to add and rode the final line well.  We had a clear round!!!!  Blue ribbon for Neuf & Mel…ok, this one was for me, because when Martin rides, Neuf gets a lot more ribbons.

Lessons learned: The lightweight stirrups have to go.  They are too light, they bounce around and I struggle to much to get them back, when I lose them.  Back to metal Fillis stirrups while I look at other options.

Homework: practice dropping and regaining stirrup at trot and canter, that way when he adds in some bucking, it is a more practiced move.

I am really happy that I was able to ride through the bucks, and stayed and did the second course.  I decided to go add the .80 and .90 meter for Saturday, knowing Martin was not going to be there, but perhaps Ashley could come.  Ashley had booked lessons since I hadn’t realized the .80/.90 classes were offered and I’d thought I wouldn’t show, so I texted Katie if she had time to help me, she would, so that was the plan.

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Riding with the handbrake on

Neuf at Piedmont Jumper Classic – Day 1

The plan was to do one class in the .90 meter on Thursday, one at 1.0 meter following, then do the Low Amateur Adults (1.0 meter) the next three days.

I felt ok, not terribly nervous, but a bit nervous, we’d been having fun at schooling shows, and back in June, our last rated show, we felt good at .80 and .90.

Martin & I did the course walk, it was straight forward, good lines, and he said that sometimes the horses are up in the ring, so I should be prepared to sit up if he was “too going”.

Warm up was pretty good.  And then I went in the ring, and rode with the handbrake on.

Neuf did his best, he carted me over fences when we had no pace.  But, on a horse with a massive stride, I added a stride to every line I think.  And at the final line, a big oxer to a vertical, one stride, he said “can’t do that from this pace”.  I circled around and came again, and he cleared the oxer and said “can’t do that vertical from here either”.  So, we were eliminated.  I made a half hearted “jump from this walk step” request which only made the jump crew work, and was eliminated on the second stop.

I summed the day  up with “Pat the horse, kick the rider”.

I wasn’t initially going to put this video up, but I am, and I am also going to say that it isn’t for an internet riding lesson.  I have great instructors, they tell me what to do, and I try and get out there and do it. so keep any “you’re riding is awful” comments to yourself.

I decided that it would be foolhardy to go in and attempt a 1.0 meter class when I’d just failed at .90 meter, and instead I did a rider change, and had Martin get on him to give him a good ride.

Given the way the show schedule was organized, I decided to scratch out of all the Low Adult 1.0 meter classes (first thing in the morning) and drop back to .80 meter and .90 meter (last classes of the day Fri/Sat) to see if I could find my mojo.

Analysis:  I was being too defensive in the air, which only slows Neuf down more.  I fell off a couple of weeks ago after Neuf overjumped a cavaletti and took advantage of my loss of balance and I was not as over that as I should have been.  I also felt like I was going super fast.  I wasn’t, but I am still fearful when Neuf goes forward sometimes.  Oh, and my back had been hurting a lot earlier in the week (a 5 hour flight tweaked it the week before), particularly when Neuf would kick out, so I was worried it would hurt.  I took Advil in the morning before the show and my back was fine.

Homework: I decided I should go find the velcro in knee rolls for my saddle and put them in.   This might make me feel more secure on landing.

Future Homework: ride out and canter Neuf out and get comfortable and confident galloping.  Consider sports psychologist for the forward fear issues.   Also, continue back exercises and pain management.


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Dressage lesson & jumping show

Today, I was ambitious! I had a dressage lesson with Inga over at my friend’s farm, and a boarder also brought her horse for a lesson, then Neuf needed to get out, and there was a jumper show over in Millwood, and now that we’re doing more than puddle jumpers, I figured there would be time to get there and do both!

It all worked out.

First up, Bali’s lesson report.

Bali is sound, her 3 weeks of walking rest with some bute, which is what the doctor ordered, worked. She felt good, had a bit of distraction because Scuff was over in the trailer, but nothing too bad.

In our walk warm up, we worked on getting her to lift her shoulders, really stay on the bit, using stellung on both sides. In trot, we went back to that shallow serpentine, making it more shallow, and really focusing on moving the shoulders, really controlling them. Right bend is Bali’s hard side, so we did some turn on the forehand around Inga, keeping her shoulders lifted, then trotting some, doing a modified turn on the forehand in trot, changed direction a few times, didn’t need as much to the left.

Then we did some long, half passes, focusing on the shoulders, keeping her between both legs going forward. Volte at the end of some, at the beginning of others. Interestingly, I have reached the point where my hands are too still, they aren’t following enough, so I worked on that, more to the right. I really need to feel her taking the contact, then giving that following hand for her to move into it. We did some trot half pass zigzag work, centerline to B back to center line, or rail to X, back to rail.

At canter, we did walk turn on the forehand, then cantered a few times, then down the long side. A few circles, some long side, then a few half passes, keeping the bend through the turn staying in counter canter, then doing 2 flying changes across the diagonal. In the changes, I worked on staying relaxed, not trying for as much power. It was a good lesson.

Then while my boarder had her lesson I got Bali cleaned up, the trailer picked, wiped down her tack and loaded her up. This took me most of the lesson, so I didn’t get to see the ride. I called over to the jumper show, they were in the 2’9″ division, so I said I was on my way. We scooted back to the farm, I dropped off Bali, quickly vacuumed Neuf, swapped saddles in the trailer, and off I went.

The timing worked out perfectly. I went down and registered, got my number, walked the course as they were raising it to the 3′-3’3″ Adult Amateur division, there were a couple of odd lines, I figured I’d watch someone else go. I got Neuf out and warmed up, went in and it was time for me to go.

The first round was clear! Not as smooth as I’d like, but a clear round! We were second.

The second class was power and speed and we had a rail during the power phase.

The third round would have had a jump off, but we had an awful fence and a rail, but we still placed.

We were Reserve, that was fun!

I need to work on staying in two point, and keeping more pace. I also need to get those lead changes sooner.

I was home by 3:15 in the afternoon!

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