I’m tired but happy after a weekend where the only job I had was to drive to a place full of horses. And this morning’s drive had so many hawks and herons to enjoy that the hour flew by.
Today we were back at the Highlander Ranch in Waco for a Working Equitation dressage clinic with Doreen, who is a great clinician. Watching people work on refining their riding skills was really helpful for me. The stuff I’m learning in my lessons was reinforced very well. I guess it makes sense, because Doreen and Tarrin used to do clinics together.
I’m glad I got there in time to see more advanced people in their sessions. That shiny horse from yesterday did leg yields and side passes at a canter like a dream. but he had things to work on, too. It was nice to see Doreen as patient with absolute beginners as with the experienced riders.
I learned all about dressage patterns, which are exercises designed to showcase a horse and rider’s skill and finesse at whatever level they are at. They look for precise turns, straight lines, perfect stops, and smooth transitions.
Each rider and horse had different challenges, so it was fun to see how they worked in them. Everyone improved! It was especially cool that there was only one experienced dressage person in Sara’s group, so they were all thrilled at their progress. They’re all planning to come back!
The most interesting skills they worked on were transitioning between walk and trot and doing “half halts” to signal that something is coming up and keep the horse’s attention. They did an exercise showing how it helped stops be better. Here’s Sara doing it.
I was the only person dedicated enough to just watch this stuff, but my own horses aren’t ready for it, so I may as well learn and support my friend. By the way, Sara got a nice prize for being one of the most improved students. That had to feel GOOD!
I was very impressed with Aragorn. He was solid as a rock. He was great when they practiced the obstacles all by themselves and just super in the clinic. He paid attention and did everything he was asked. Now Sara knows he was worth his cost, and she sees the wisdom of waiting until they were good partners before doing stuff like this. Yes!
Now I can look forward to working with my guys as much as possible this week, even if it’s cold. I want to keep doing better!