Mar 5 / Piaffe and Tempi Changes

Friday, March 5, 2010

I’ve had my own horses, Birdie and Willie along with a few others at another farm for the past sixy days or so. At the end of the month I’ll be moving all of my horses back to Leighton Farm. It’s been hard to have them at another farm, but it’s been well worth it. I’ve had the privilege of working with a master of riding on a regular basis. My riding has achieved a new level and I’m very excited about it. Both Birdie and Willie have transformed many times over. We still have a long way to go, but steady progress is enough incentive to keep working hard.

Elizabeth Madlener has devoted a ton of time and energy to me and my boys. She is a true dressage master, but what I have learned will benefit each and every horse I transition off the backstretch into the show and pleasure world.

I am from a racing background so much of the time I am reaching for a feeling I have never experienced on a horse. This makes it more difficult to know when I’ve achieved results. Self carriage and coming over in the back are not required in racing.

Last Saturday Elizabeth invited me to ride a horse she has been working with for several years. Quandel, I hope I spelled that correctly. I am told he is schooling fourth level. It was an eye opening experience. I was able to feel a truly forward and free walk. I had to use my legs more and in an accurate way to produce good results. My seat, well I learned my seat has a habit of going crazy at times.

Quandel reacted each time I wavered, even a smidge. I now know what my boys are having to deal with and this has made me a better rider immediately. In addition, Quandel was cutting me no slack – legs on, back up, legs off, back down. Put your legs on to be carried or pooh on you and they better be in the right place. I love and adore another horse, his name is Quandel.

Now for the great part. After a lot of laughing about the results I was inadvertently producing on poor Quandel, I started to put it together. I was honored to do my first Piaffe on him and Tempi Changes. YES! Tempi Changes! It’s like riding a wave. Incredible power and stability from Quandel as a gift to me. I’m changed forever and now I have a clearer understanding of self carriage and responsiveness. I have a much better idea where we are headed. I’m inspired.