Deep in Snow

There was the perfect amount and perfect quality of snow in the big pen to practice lateral work with ChoCho. I asked him to stretch deep across his quarters, to really make strong lateral moves. I rode on loose reins, trying instead to use my hips and orientation to cue the lateral.

Khemancho’s Soft Trot

For those of you who don’t know – Khemancho and I have been taking dressage lessons. My actual teacher/ trainer is Margaret Beeman, who started Khemancho as a 3 year old colt 3 years ago. (How time flies!). You can see her work here. Although I have never met her, I also consider Karen Rohlf a teacher, since I have spent hours and hours studying her DVD and book training series. You can read about Karen at Dressage, Naturally. My “goal” in dressage is not only to do what ChoCho seems born to do and loves to do! (I had expected him to be an endurance horse since he comes from Belesemo Arabians, who breed endurance horses, and he has full siblings who are endurance champions) –I  had never ridden in a ring before I started with a dozen or so dressage lessons last fall- – but my goals are to execute/train at dressage  in ways that are consistent with my interest in cultivating the soft and joyful horse. I am learning a lot! And in some ways I feel that here is where the rubber meets the road, where the proof is in the pudding, where we get to walk the talk (how’s that for a string of euphemisms).  Last week ChoCho worked at a lovely trot, and also offered what Karen Rohlf terms “the let loose posture” — which is the foundation of balance and softness, upon which collection can be correctly (that is biomechanically) built.

Let’s go to the video tape:

Here we are trotting a simple figure eight

Here ChoCho is offering the “let loose” posture at the trot: