Archive for the 'Dressage Patterns' Category

Carriage Dogs and Straighter Lines

amywink February 18th, 2013


Lily is making swift progress in her work as my carriage dog and this weekend, we had a good drive together again while I worked on straight lines with Blessing. She has decided that lying across or under my feet is really most comfortable and she is now sleeping during most of the drive with little issue.


She is now waiting quietly tethered to the carriage while I harness (not while I hook–we are safe). Look how nicely she waits here!


For a 10 month old dog, she’s doing miraculously well with all of her training and duties.

Her reward (aside from being with me, which is her Life’s Dream) is a happy romp with Cookie, who now is very eager for our visits.

Lily’s improved carriage ethic has made working on driving more possible and this Sunday I was very pleased with our work on straight lines. Though I could see my tracks in the dry soil of the arena, I couldn’t tell how well we’d done until I looked at my GPS tracks. Granted, the GPS unit is not on Blessing’s bridle but the carriage went straight! and these lines are greatly improved from our last attempt at straight lines


I can tell that we have a little terrain issue on some of our lines because we keep having a wobble at the same place…a place where there’s a noticeable dip in the terrain. We’ll work on that as well but so far, I ‘m quite pleased with this progress. We only have a short drive, just 30 minutes, but even short workouts can be productive. I also worked on myself more, fixing my eyes on a focus point at the end of my line and keeping my hands quiet when Blessing moved correctly into line. I am still working on my hands and keeping the light contact that works for her.

Bad Drive, Not So Bad

amywink August 27th, 2012

I really like having the Garmin 205 Bike computer for my driving lessons because I can really get perspective on my drive once I take a look at the maps. What felt like the suckiest drive ever on Saturday didn’t look too bad from the satellite’s perspective.


As a whole, the drive doesn’t have that many crazy shapes and wiggly lines. We didn’t actually wander all over the map, we just had a few wobblies here and there. This is pretty helpful for a person who can lean a shade toward insanely perfectionistic about her driving because while things aren’t perfect, they’re also not that far from pretty decent. And it’s important to not let perfect be the enemy of good.

I actually had some good circles at the west end of the dressage field:
Much better than I expected to see–though I owe Francine some cones for crunching over hers to get these circles so nice.

But of course, it also does show some of the….not so perfect circles:

Probably crunched some cones getting these circles so horribly wrong too.

But things are going well enough to seriously consider showing Blessing at the upcoming HOTMHC Fun Show in September. Barring unforeseen circumstances, we’ll be making a go in the carriage classes, maybe an in hand class or two just to prep her. We shall see.


amywink August 21st, 2012


This circle was driven by me and Blessing….

Perfect Drive

amywink August 12th, 2012


This is the GPS track of a perfect drive. Not in the sense that every move is exactly correct, but in the sense that the entire drive went fabulously well. Though we had to work on getting our diagonals straight, we worked on getting our lines straight. Blessing responded to everything I asked her to do. While she started out not yielding to the right side, when I asked her to pay attention, she did and yielded to the right. While she didn’t appreciate my insistence that she move over ever so slightly to move straight (with a commentary flick of her tail), she moved over to go straight. Though we made a few circles a bit wide, we made a few circles with only a bit wide. Everything was smooth and relaxed and even, calm and peaceful. She responded to my hands and I remained relaxed. I didn’t lose contact, or let my reins get overlong, or forget Francine’s directions. Blessing was a good mare, suddenly mature and confident in her work, but not bossy or fussy. Such a perfect drive.

Here are the progressions of our diagonals.


Then a diagonal and a straight line with a half circle to C and straight down the center line:


Then some circles, in both directions:

Wow Oh Wow: Part 1

amywink April 30th, 2012

What a fantastic weekend I have had.

First of all, after dragging myself out of bed and getting a very very slow start on Saturday morning (school finishes next week….I hope I make it), I headed down for my 12th riding lesson. Really, I was so tired that if Malen had said “no riding today.” I’d have said “Great!” but in the way of things, that was not to be and I am so glad! As hard as it is to believe that exercise is a cure for exhaustion, time and again, I find this to be true and Saturday was no exception. Once I was mounted, I did find a supply of energy for the day’s lesson and boy, what a great lesson it was.

Since Steven sent me a link about bicyclists using their GPS to create “drawings”, I made sure my GPS was strapped to my leg. Since we have no street maps, I prefer to think of our “work” as abstract instead of realistic, as you can see from this rendering of the entire riding lesson:


And yet there is a sense of design once we move toward the dressage fieldpicture-4.jpg Something reminiscent of Van Gogh’s swirling paint strokes perhaps? Perhaps not.

There are elements of our design which I was very very proud, however, as proud as I was of my ridden circle (and also done at a posting trot!). Here is our small serpentine, ridden in the middle of the 20 meter cone markers, so like a weaving….or perhaps a knitting (Steven?)


Then the broader serpentine which involved straight lines and quarter turns


And on to the Figure 8, which I bobbled a bit on at the intersection circles:


Of course we also worked on the straight line here, which I was very proud of–straight lines being difficult to execute.


But here is my favorite part. This drawing represents yet another major accomplishment in my Riding Recovery.


Just like my first ride back to the barn alone, this is the map of my first “trail” ride off the dressage field. It might look pretty simple but this involved going up and down slopes and riding along the edge of two separate stock tanks–one side water (no big deal) the other…..drop off (giant big hairy scary deal). And yet, it turned out to be also No Big Deal. Mission Accomplished.

All of that would have been enough to call the day a great one but it was only the Tip of the Iceberg!!… be continued….

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