Years ago, I was told that dressage means riding every stride [Square Horses]. Color me mystified. Previous Horse and I shared the foxhunter mentality. I tell you where to go and at what gait, you sort out the bits in between. As I’ve said earlier [Fifth Leg], it turns out that saddleseat is similar to dressage in demanding constant focus. Get on. Get to work. Do what is needful and get off. This is what the horses expect. If I drop the reins on an ASB neck for a walk break, I get back an equine ‘WTF?’
My goal for last week was to stay focused for the entire lesson. As soon as I got on, I picked up my reins, lifted my hands, and marched off with a sense of urgency. Whereupon Sam put on his lesson-horse hat, flung his head about, and said, ‘I don’t work like that.’ I insisted. By the time we trotted, he decided I was serious. We weren’t anywhere near show horse gaits, but I did step it up a notch from what we have done.
Sometimes I had to take and give with my hands. Sometimes I had to keep my leg on. Sometimes, I had to nothing and let him get on with his job. So, riding every stride does not mean doing something every stride. It means being ready to do something every stride.
Gratuitous Cat Picture