Bend… and Soften!

Second dressage lesson with Gus today. It was HOT and HUMID. Yuck. We definitely had a dripping wet saddle pad at the end of the ride and a very very tired OTTB. I’ll admit that my entire outfit might have been soaked through as well. Double yuck.

But back to the lesson, because that’s a lot more interesting!


Gus and I have been working super hard these last two weeks to work on our suppleness, rhythm, and relaxation. C could see the improvement and was really happy with it. But I told him I was having trouble working towards the right because when I ask for any sort of flexion or suppleness on the right rein, Gus dives in to the middle of the arena. He does not understand moving off the leg yet. So we worked on flexion.

This was tough. Very very tough to the right rein. We didn’t start to see improvement until C started focusing on me and how I was holding the reins. The first thing he wanted me to do was bring my hands closer together and reestablish the suppleness. Once I had that, he wanted me to open my outside rein just slightly and bring the inside rein up into Gus’ neck to block him from falling in. I was shocked that the minute I did that, he stopped falling in.

Then we could finally work on flexion.

There was one part of my lesson… and to be fair, I could have been delirious from the heat at this point… that C kept telling me to bend (aka, flex to the inside) and then tell me to soften. Over and over. C would draw out the bend so it was more like bennnnnnd and soften! And all I could think was


But you know? It really did.

We ended the lesson at the canter. By that time both Gus and I were so so tired. You can see how hard I had to work to keep him cantering in the video, and he still has trouble cantering on a 20m circle. But he didn’t give up trying on me. That is all I can ask.

12 thoughts on “Bend… and Soften!

  1. Good work! Mo still has cantering issues. I think it’s because he is lazy. <3

    I almost choked on my coffee at "bend and snap" so well done!

  2. dressage in the humidity is definitely intense… but looks like you all made it through really well – he looks great!

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