Friday, October 11, 2013


Last night, Tris had a massage scheduled (or re-scheduled, I should say, as it was meant to happen on the day his hives blew up, but thankfully that is in the past). My friend was running a bit late so I groomed him and then took the opportunity to wander into the ring to watch a lesson.

I've always loved sitting and watching lessons when I have some downtime, whether it's friends, strangers, or the trainer him/herself. It's a good bonding experience with others who are watching and I always come away feeling inspired by something I've seen.

Last night was a doozy. R. was giving a local eventing trainer a lesson in flying changes on one of her schoolmasters, a beautiful gray Lusitano who has been there, done that, and whose specialty is the freestyle. He's a wonderful, kind soul that everyone adores.

Watching R. teach the trainer - who will be clinicing at the barn over the winter while she's in Florida, and is my pick to re-start Tris and I over fences - was absolutely amazing. He is already an extraordinary rider, and watching him adapt his talents to a much higher dressage level than he was used to was amazing. R. walked him through Otelo's gaits and had him collecting from his seat and then turned them loose to try a few single flying changes down the diagonal.

I'd never seen a lesson in flying changes before, not the dressage ones anyway, and watching her work him through the singles, then up to two tempis and critique the quality of each one and the way he rode them was breathtaking.

I don't know if Tris will ever have a flying change, not from the aids anyway (he pops them sometimes when jumping or galloping), but watching the preparation to get there - the collection, the rocking back, the lift in front of the withers, the core strength and stillness to create a space to communicate: all of that will stay with me for a long time.

(Tris's massage went well, he is feeling great all over save for some small tightness in his right shoulder but that has been slowly decreasing over the months and will hopefully disappear entirely when his foot finishes growing out.)


  1. Ohhh, that sounds fabulous! And I am tickled to hear that eventing trainer is also riding at your barn -- I hadn't realized that relationship was reciprocal. I am even more excited for your future!lessons now (and I was pretty excited already).

    I've gotten to catch a few snippets of dressage lessons at my current barn and they are fascinating -- like watching the door pushed open just a liiiiiittle bit farther.

  2. Yes it actually started with R. teaching him, going over to his farm and doing daylong clinics, and him coming to clinic with us was the second step. His wife has also come to the last few dressage camps with her horse. Part of the lesson was her also translating what he was feeling on the schoolmaster dressage horse to what he could expect on that fancy Irish horse of his and what qualities to seek out and encourage, etc., as she's taught him on that horse quite a bit.

    More incentive for me to save my pennies and not replace the little car right away - more cash for clinic lessons, since those won't come out of my barn hours!

    I've never seen such high-level dressage lessons on such a consistent basis before. So much fun!


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