10 November 2018
Mary K. Wicksten
Debbie Bowman visited Denali Sport Horses in Iola, Texas for a dressage clinic on Nov. 10-11. Weather was chilly but the horses and riders warmed up quickly in the demanding work! I ride at Training Level and came to get some insights from other riders. (Sadly, I have no truck or trailer and couldn’t arrange a ride for my own horse).
Debbie was insightful about the connection between the rider’s position and hands and the horse’s balance. She used an “Equi-block” to position the rider’s hands forward and keep them steady (a popular training method with variations approvingly used by many trainers, including my own). It’s really easy to get off balance ever so slightly and get a crooked or “one-sided” horse. She demonstrated means to check your balance. I could sympathize with the “demo rider” as she inadvertently kept slipping on to one or getting one leg ahead of the other. And then there were the transitions: trot, trot, slower trot balanced into forward walk; stride, stride, and back again, repeatedly. Canter circles were supposed to be right on cue and round. Another rider had trouble with getting her horse going into a nice round, swinging frame. The walk and trot were lazy, the horse seemed to look for an excuse to break from a canter into a trot. Was there not enough seat pressure from the rider, or perhaps her hands came back and tugged on the reins? Frustrating, of course, but one at least can take comfort that this was not a show! I went away thoughtful and tried to remember some of what I saw in my lesson on Soda yesterday. Progress is being made–thanks Debbie!