Dressage clinic with Lisa Wilcox-day 1, part 1

I took the opportunity to ride with Lisa Wilcox, an accomplished dressage rider and competitor.  She has represented the USA on the USET for Dressage, on medal winning teams, at both Olympic games and the World Equestrian Games.

I took Bali, as she is my dressage horose and has been getting neglected because Neuf has been getting all the time in lessons and shows.  But, I have been continuing her training and conditioning, so she getting stronger.  I am working on all the 4th level elements with her, and still hope to earn my USDF Silver rider medal eventually.

On to the clinic notes.  I noted the age and type of horse in my notes because it puts them in context.

When I arrived, someone was riding a 7 year old Hanoverian, and I took notes.  This horse was stong and reminded me a bit of Neuf.  Lately Neuf has been balking with me, and this horse was balking, so this was good stuff.

  • Correct before the balk – with leg
  • Don’t throw away the contact when using leg
  • This rider had a double, so was asked to not use curb, but bridoon.
  • Once it was fixed in the walk, went to sitting trot.  Keep even contact , don’t let the reins get too long.
  • The horse has taught the rider to give away the connection (I am guilty of this!)
  • Too much time with voice – not physical aids…I get chastised for talking to Neuf too much.
  • For naughty/not forward and not turning, Lisa had the rider use a shoulder tap on the outside, with the whip.
  • Using too much open/inside rein causes locking of the neck
  • When patting the neck, one pat on the neck on the inside, keep outside rein contact.  One pat is enough.
  • Cannot fix balking issues with a curb.
  • Have to finish when a horse gets stuck.
  • Lisa did not like allowing the horse to rub bridle on his leg at end.

The next rider was on a 23 year old Arabian/Oldenburg cross, an Intermediate level eventer who is switching to straight dressage.

  • Long leg, soft eyes
  • inside rein at the wither, outside rein on the mane and more forward of the inside, riding the neck in. She has you use shoulder rotation to accomplish this somewhat.
  • attemtping to eliminate and loosen the underneck.
  • Lisa demonstrates half halt as using aids coming closer together, this was in my lesson too, but I was not fully clear on what she wanted until after I watched her riding a horse after I had ridden.  More on that later.
  • When the rider accomplished the aids, the horse’s underneck muscle was completely relaxed and the topline muscles were engaged and working. This was a dramatic change from the ground.

Then I left to go get Bali ready for my ride.  This is getting long, so will require multiple posts.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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