Dressage on Moe

I hopped on Moe this morning for a final dressage school before Sunday’s test (for which there are still no ride times…); our last dressage ride (on Monday) was pretty gross, with Moe channeling his inner llama and me trying to remember how my narrow, runty gelding liked to be ridden.

Gina is basically the easiest dressage horse in the world to ride, which is why I’ve kept her around so long. If you ride reasonably well, she will soften and relax, get on the bit, and give you nice steady walk/trot/canter work without a fight. It makes her a popular lesson horse, especially for those students just learning the concept of asking a horse to get on the aids.

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I think my major mistake on Monday was trying to ride Moe the same way I ride Gina; that means firm contact, lots of leg, and half halts before asking for any kind of change.

Today, I made a real effort to ride on a looser, softer rein with lower hands, ride with less pressure from my legs overall, and be very clear with my leg aids when asking for an upward transition. I also tried to touch his face as little as possible, which meant giving cues for transitions from my seat. Our ride was a big improvement over Monday; he was softer and quieter and rounder. We still had some ugly transitions, and the left lead canter was kind of a mess, but I’ll take the improvement!

"COOKIES NOW PLZ"
“COOKIES NOW PLZ”

I also made a couple of other changes: I rode in a pair of little nubby spurs, and I liberated that Sommer Esprit from work again (seriously, it deserves to be used!) because I had a hunch it would fit him well. Of course, it fit him magnificently and he went well and I rode better, etc etc…So maybe after it’s been sitting here for a few more months, I’ll try to sell my King’s and offer half of what the Sommer’s owner is asking. And then my horses will be transformed into majestikal dressage creatures or something.

This is about as good as Moe does at posing for pictures.
This is about as good as Moe does at posing for pictures.

I managed to punch a couple of additional holes into Gina’s trusty SmartPak dressage bridle, so Moe has something appropriate to wear on Sunday. I brought home a dressage bridle and two breastplates to try on him earlier this week. Horze’s cob sized bridle fit him very nicely in the noseband and throatlatch, but was hopelessly short on the cheekpieces. The Nunn Finer breastplates (their worsted wool one and a plain hunting breastplate, both cob sized) were too small in the shoulders, and one was incredibly long from chest to girth. So Moe will make do with Gina’s bridle and no breastplate.

A pile of ill-fitting tack. Ugh.
A pile of ill-fitting tack. Ugh.

Tomorrow, Johnny and I will be running all the errands we normally run on Sunday, packing up our cooler, and then it’s off to the show bright and early Sunday morning! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

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