Friday, August 29, 2008

Working on the Stretch

After two weeks off from Dressage, I wanted to work on some bending exercises to keep Brego's mind fresh on the idea. I don't have any major events coming up, so I don't want to drill things, but just keep his neck moving and remind him that he can, in fact, bend his neck while moving.

At the walk, we worked on bending down and reaching for the inside contact. The emphasis is on the outside stretch. You can definitely feel the difference between Brego turning his head to the inside (bad) and stretching the outside of his body, forming the bend (good). It's very cool stuff, and one of those little nuances that non-dressagies (such as myself) live in blissful ignorance of.

At the trot, I had to reinforce my leg quite a bit at the beginning. Brego's natural trot is something akin to a western pleasure job, so we spent a few revolutions on Big Trot When I Say NOW. Then the bending/stretching at the trot is much harder for Brego. I don't know if it's a breed thing or not, but when he trots, he sets his jaw and is on rails, straight and steady. Of course, he's not really straight, if he can't flex his poll, but he sure is on rails.

So we worked on the same bending exercise in the walk but at a trot. To the right, Brego is really getting it, the outside left stretch seems easier, and he really steps under with his right hind. I definitely need to get video of him doing this.

To the left, he had a lot more trouble unlocking his jaw and I had to alternate between high hands and low hands, playing with my fingers, to coax him to relax. We ended on a nice 15 m circle to the left where he had half the brilliance he had to the right, but he was at least not totally locked. Progress!

I also worked on shoulder-ins at the walk where I used the bend to weight his individual hind legs, looking for uneveness on that right hind. He did really well both ways, and I even dropped my inside hand briefly during the movement to prove to myself he was in an honest bend. I feel so, I don't know, so Kyra. :)

Anyway, no canter work, but some nice soft trot work and a pleasant refresher on some dressage fundamentals. I am very pleased with how he did after not thinking of bend for two weeks and I was thrilled to feel him forward and even and using his hind end.


allhorsestuff said...

HI there....found you through The Jumping Percheron.
I can't wait to come on back and get to know more of you and your horseface! I love to jump!

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I have to say that I really like all that you enter. It is very relevant to me and my big Moose (Eli), and while we are way behind where you are, it gives me inspiration when I'm ready to give up! I work like a crazy woman too, have an 8 year old son and a huband who need attention from time to time too! LOL

I always look for your entries when I get home from work and am disapointed when there isn't a new one!

I am so very proud of how well you did at the Event! I wish I could hear what the judges were saying with all the big fancy warmbloods who were likely there! Keep up the good work and don't change!

Julie & Eli (I can't find my password so I haven't been able to make entries lately...)