Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Dressage’ Category

Different Versions of the Same Thing

V is for Versions. If you are joining me from Blogging A To Z, welcome! Since the blog is already daily, with topics for each day [About: Schedule], there is no specific A To Z theme. I may even skip a few letters. Gasp. Clutch the pearls. The goal for this year is less crazy, more visiting. [Ze State of Ze Blog 2014]

~~~

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Holding four reins
Photo by Courtney Huguley

I am now riding with a double bridle. Gulp.

In dressage, graduating to a double bridle is a big deal. It is a point of endless discussion, mostly about the dangers and about criticism of folks who have done so without proper skills.

For example, a quote from Dressage Today, emphasis mine:

“Are You Ready for a Double Bridle?”
by Ana Gilmour

“However, using a double bridle too soon can result in anxiety in the horse, mouth problems and irreparable damage.”
Dressage Today
Mar 6, 2017

This puts a certain wariness in one’s head about having two bits in a horse’s mouth.

In saddle seat, 10 year olds ride with a double bridle. Allow me to repeat that. Munchkins who are learning to show walk-trot are doing so with a double bridle. Minus the vanishingly small exception of a few young horse classes, if the rider is in a suit, they are using a double. Performance = 2 bits.

I’m not against it. It works for them. The situation is the same as dressage getting its knickers in a twist about tempi changes whereas hunters install lead changes as soon as possible. Different disciples, different goals.

Granted, I did use a double bridle with George in the sidesaddle class at the Washington International Horse Show. But a) George was made of cast iron. Nothing was going to hurt him. & B) I never actually touched the reins.

It has been decreed that I will learn to ride saddle seat with a double bridle. The horses are fine with it. I can’t look at the curb rein without thinking about irreparable damage.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Mr. Whizbang is not objecting to the double. He is objecting to being surrounded by fools, his normal state.
Photo by Courtney Huguley

Too much shade, but a cuter Mr. Whizbang.
Photo by Courtney Huguley

USDF Interview: Willy Arts, Trainer, Breeder, and Breed Official

“Behind The Scenes: Willy Arts, Trainer, Breeder, and Breed Official”
USDF Connection
April 2017
United States Dressage Federation

 

A short interview with a breed association board member.

©2017 United States Dressage Federation. Used by permission. Reproduction prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

Previous Posts [Behind The Scenes]

Also by me in the same issue, “Amateur Hour: Top Guns”. A profile of 2016 Dover Medal winner Ruth Shirkey.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

USDF Interview: Nicho Meredith, Announcer

“Behind The Scenes: Nicho Meredith, Announcer”
USDF Connection
March 2017
United States Dressage Federation

 

A short interview with a horse show announcer.

©2017 United States Dressage Federation. Used by permission. Reproduction prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

Previous Posts [Behind The Scenes]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Rodney’s Dressage Lesson

Breaking out the britches.

I trotted my horse! For the first time in 7 years! Said that way, it’s pitiful. Nevertheless, Rodney and I trotted for the first time since 2010.

I’ve had my eye on the dressage instructor Mr. E for a while. He seemed sympathetic to horse and rider. We (cough Greg cough) decided that now was the time. Even if we weren’t ready, ya gotta start somewhere. If I waited until I was absolutely ready, I’d never have a lesson.

I was expecting more of a consult than a lesson, heavy on the discussion. Instead, Rodney and I moved for 30 minutes. No need for stops to reset his brain, either. Mr. E maintained a steady flow of instruction that kept both horse and rider organized and – as a result – calm. Right now, I doubt I can recreate the conditions on my own. That’s okay. We did it.

Mr. E had me pick up a contact with an exaggerated giving motion to encourage Rodney to stretch his neck. We did a few halts. Mr. E saw something in the halts that made him think a trot transition was not out of the question. I said that when I trot Rodney in hand, he flings his head up and gets tense. Mox nix, I was told. That was in hand.

So we did a few steps of trot. Rodney picked up a quiet trot, shuffled along, then ran out of gas in a few strides. Kaloo! Kalay! We trotted a few more times. Rodney failed to get his knickers in twist. After once around the ring in each direction, we declared victory and stopped.

Mr. E complimented me on being willing to trust him and try the trot – which had NOT been in my lesson plan. Really, it wasn’t so much trust on my part, as ‘Well, you’re the new guy. I’ll give you some rope and see what you do with it.’ Same result, more cynicism.

Afterwards, Rodney’s back was mildly tight, particularly on the right – scar – side. This is something we will have to attend to any time he works.

Rodney was very, very proud of himself.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

USDF Interview: Katherine ‘Kathie’ Robertson, USDF

usdf-feb-2017-cov

“Behind The Scenes: Katherine ‘Kathie’ Robertson, USDF”
USDF Connection
February 2017
United States Dressage Federation

 

A short interview with the association’s Education Department Manager.

usdf-feb-2017-text

©2017 United States Dressage Federation. Used by permission. Reproduction prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

Previous Posts [Behind The Scenes]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Saddle Seat Versus Dressage, In A Nutshell

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Recently, I was asked how I would explain the difference between saddle seat and dressage to a dressage rider. Never ask me these things in person. I talk way too much. I finally came home, sat down, and consolidated my thoughts.

Both disciplines want the horse elevated through the shoulder & pushing from behind. Saddle seat horses go with more autonomy and are always collected, instead of extending & collecting.
~~~
My dressage related comments & ponderments over the years.

2014

When a horse objects, I had been taught to turn the head to the inside & push past the Scary Thing with my inside leg. Unfortunately, Saddlebreds go off the outside rein and leg.
Show Report: Winter Tournament 2, Hartselle AL

Obedience Epiphany
Back To The Bigtime

… keep a steady hand and give sharp, jabby picks with the reins. This feels wrong at a cellular level. On the other hand, I have never truly grasped the idea of contact in any discipline. It could be this is the take-and-give that dressage instructors have been yapping on about.
Show Report & Tweets: Georgia Fall Classic 2014

Overall, the guest instructor’s method had more dressage stirred into the mix: bending, leg yield, changes of direction.
Clinic Report: Saddle Seat with Christy Parker

Headset

2015
Saddle Seat Vs. Dressage: Patterns
Dueling Disciplines What I say about H/J would be true of Dressage.
The Ups and Downs Transitions

2016
Riding Loose
Show Report: ASAC 2016 Two years later, I’m still confused about the concept of contact.

Thoughts?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

USDF Interview: Bo Lofvander, Back on Track (USA)

usdf-dec-2016-jan-cov

“Behind The Scenes: Bo Lofvander, Back on Track (USA)
USDF Connection
December 2016/January 2017
United States Dressage Federation

 

A short interview with the owner of a therapeutic products company.

usdf-dec-2016-jan-text

©2016 United States Dressage Federation. Used by permission. Reproduction prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

[Previous Behind The Scenes]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott