I’ve been saying this for six years: I finally have a dressage horse, but this time, I really mean it. Not only is Izzy looking like the warmblood he was bred to be, he feels like it, too. The day after Christmas, my friend Wendy and I met up at Symphony Dressage Stables to have lessons with owner and trainer, Chemaine Hurtado.
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I rarely smile during a lesson as I am always so focused, but when your horse is this amazing …

Like the lesson before, I didn’t ask for anything specific. I just wanted Chemaine to offer me some feedback on how to improve the connection, bend, straightness, and so on. Her suggestions were …

  • use a bigger half halt before the medium trot and let him lengthen his neck before pushing him into the longer stride;
  • shorten the stride of the outside, right hind to get the inside left hind to step deeper;
  • use a bigger half halt every time he want to pop his head up,
  • and when he resists the bend, ride haunches in to shoulder-in.
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A little leg yield to warm up.

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Leg yield the other way.

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Where did THAT come from?

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Less reach but with a bit more loft.

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Such a good boy – no fidgeting.

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Collecting the right lead for the 10-meter circles.

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He melted into butter.

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And to the left …

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He was focused on me the entire ride.

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Like “light” butter!

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An awesome stretch down when he was done!

There was not a single bad moment. He never spooked, and there was plenty of reason to be naughty. It was bitterly cold, the goat was crying, the dogs were zipping around, and the wind was gusting. He never put a foot wrong or said no.

As I watched the video and pressed pause to capture still photos, I was able to use virtually any screenshot I wanted. He never looked hollow or braced or resistant, and the feeling he gave me during the ride was even better. While I look quite determined in most of the photos, inside, I was grinning ear to ear.

My fingers are crossed that we come out of winter show ready and finally able to earn some decent scores.