Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Right now, my mare and I are just waiting for the ground to dry up a bit and for some of her ‘battle wounds’ to heal before we can start working under saddle again. When she’s sound again, I’m going to start her dressage training with simple flex work. She’s very stiff and my first step is to get an equine massage therapist or chiropractor out to take care of sore muscles or misaligned muscles/joints.
Once we have that out of the way, I’m going to see what kind of gaits she has. She’s a retired pacer, but I saw her trot in the field a few times so I know she has it. I’m going to work on refining her naturally floating trot and then slowly introduce collection into the mix. I don’t want to throw too much at her at once since she’s coming off from a decade of broodmare duty, so we’re going to go slow. When she’s nice and responsive to direct reining and my cues, I’m going to take her out and make use of the hills on the farm to further condition her to keep her mind engaged.
Depending how things go in spring/early summer, I might move her to a more dressage-oriented barn in the fall and enroll in lessons so we can both learn more, at a steady rate. I plan to audit a few dressage clinics during the summer and I’ve asked a friend of mine, who has ridden dressage for a long time, to help in exchange for some riding time. She knows Vanna is greener than grass and is looking forward to the experience, and I know Vanna will benefit from her expertise.
To be honest with you all, I don’t have competition aspirations or anything… I want to learn dressage because I find it to be a beautiful, complex sport. I like the focus it requires and how effortless it looks when it is executed properly. At this stage in her life, I think light dressage training will be better on Vanna’s joints than jumping would be, and I want to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible, for as long as possible.