Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A rare Monday lesson

Since my trainer and I are trying to make up for missed rides I'm going to be having two lessons a week this month if we can manage it. So yesterday I had a lesson, and Kaswyn was pretty good. After I warmed up we discussed how Kaswyn had been feeling. I think that Kaswyn is now on the downhill side of his rehab, and that he just needs to build muscle and stamina slowly. So we decided to work on one small part of the test that we'd like to show next year - the Prix St. George.

A little background - the governing association for horse shows in the US (with the exception of Quarter Horse shows - they have their own affiliation) is the United States Equestrian Federation, or USEF. They, in conjunction with the United States Dressage Federation, USDF, write the dressage tests to be performed at each level. These levels are Introductory, Training, First, Second, Third, and Fourth, with each level having multiple tests, up to four. After Fourth level, the tests used are from the The Fédération Équestre Internationale, or FEI, which is the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. These levels are Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I, Intermediare II, and Grand Prix, each having one test per level. Grand Prix is what you'd see at the Olympic games.

Kaswyn has shown both Prix. St. Georges (also known as PSG) and Intermediare I (I1)successfully, so we're going to start with PSG. There is a certain trot sequence in the test that gives us trouble. It's a shoulder in along the wall from the corner to the middle of the wall, followed by an 8 meter circle (a little less than half the width of the arena), then half-pass from the wall to the centerline. I should have gotten a video of it, and will try to during my next lesson.

We have problems with all three parts of the movement. To start with, his shoulder-in is not smooth and reaching. He tends to take shorter strides instead of putting more weight behind and reaching out with his front legs. Then when I turn him onto the circle he dives onto his forehand and doesn't keep the impulsion going. After the circle, he lets his haunches trail for the first part of the half-pass. I always feel we get a better half-passs out of the corner or down the centerline. I don't know why this is because it really shouldn't make a difference. A turn is a turn.

Anyhow, we worked on that and I felt a little improvement. I guess it's unrealistic for me to expect that every movement will be perfect, but I'd like to nail down the test to the point where I don't have moments in the show ring where I hold my breath and think "Okay, I really hope we get this!". In general I think his trot work is stronger than his canter work, so I'll try to focus there for a few weeks. But it's really hard to do more trot work when it's difficult to get correct, and the canter work feels so good!

1 comment:

I Gallop On said...

Hi Dressage Mom, like your blog. ;-) Beautiful Arabian you have there. I grew up close to you, just south of Painesville, OH. I'll bet it's pretty up on Lake Erie right now.

Pax. Kimberly

 
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr