Lesa and Song – Aug 27, 2018 – Lesson 50

This is a quick look at Lesa’s improvement with double lunging.  Song looks great and her shape has improved throughout this year with being ridden exclusively by beginners.  I believe this double lunging has had a huge influence on the improvements Song has made.

This 50.1 video is more about driving than double lunging but again Lesa is doing a good job with learning this new skill.

Video 50.4 is an excellent example of a free walk.  Song is a little slow but her stride is longer and she immediately stretches down and out.  I love seeing the swing in her tail which indicates to me that her back is loose.

This video shows Lesa asking Song for a leg yield from the quarter line to the rail in a relaxed walk.  Lesa then picks up more contact and asks Song to move at a medium walk which I think is very nice.  Next Lesa turns Song on to the center line and leg yields to the rail.  I don’t think this one is very effective particularly in the beginning .  The last few steps are pretty good.  Lesa then transitions into a relaxed walk and does a leg yield from the quarter line coming toward me.  Song is crossing over but her steps are not even and her head and neck are bent too much.  On the plus side, Song is maintaining her rhythm and is staying relaxed.


This video starts out with a really nice working trot and Lesa intends to do a leg yield at the trot that is pretty non-existent.  I asked her to trot around and try again at the walk and it was better but still not very good.  Song has a delayed reaction to the aid to move over and when she finally understands her strides of quick and short.  At this point I put the camera down and we worked on some square corners and leg yield through the barrels.



Since Lesa has started the canter we have tried to work on it a little every lesson.  This is probably Lesa’s longest canter to date.  Song is quick to drop onto her forehand if you are not riding in rhythm with the canter.  Once again Lesa is improving but it just takes practice.  Most beginners get tight when they canter and Lesa is no exception.  When she gets tight she props on her thighs and stands a bit in the stirrups.  We will go back to some lunge line lessons to get the feel when Lesa doesn’t have to worry about control.

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Lesa and Song -Aug 23, 2018 -Lesson 49


We are again in the outside arena and Lesa is working on medium trot as well as asking for a bit of extension across the diagonal.  I only have this one film clip for this day because I was having trouble controlling Gus and filming at the same time.  Every time I held the camera up Gus would walk up and stick his nose in the lens and say”whatcha doin Mom?”.

Lesa is showing really nice control with Song.  Her contact and hands are getting better all the time.  Lesa forgets to think about the bend occasionally while she is doing circles and I’m sure control of Song is certainly more difficult in this location.  Sometimes I think it is best to just let Lesa practice because for the most part she knows what she is trying to do, but the coordination just requires more repetition.

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Lesa and Song – Aug 22, 2018 – Lesson 48

In Lesson 48 we went to the outdoor dressage arena for the first time.  It is really just a mowed pasture until I get the letters up and the PVC lining the corners.  It does represent a major new challenge for Lesa.  My barn is on the other side of the house and Song definitely wants to go back to her buddies.  Lesa is going to have to contend with a much more forward horse that isn’t really listening as well as usual.  This was a pretty nice figure eight but I cut the video short because Song shied at the dogs and bolted forward a stride or two.  In the next several videos Lesa is riding more defensively and hanging on the reins a bit, not that I blame her!

Song is showing off in this video,  This is a very nice medium trot for an old girl and Lesa is doing a great job with staying calm, relaxed and doing enough turns and circles to keep Song engaged in this unfamiliar surroundings.

This video shows a nice stretch and relaxation at the free walk and then a nice soft halt at the end.

This is Lesa’s very first attempt at lengthening the stride in the trot.  Not bad!

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Lesa and Song – Aug 9, 2018 – Lesson 46

In my own lessons with Pam she has reintroduced double lunging to me for my young horses.  This is one of Lesa’s first attempts to learn double lunging with Song.  Lesa does a great job here but this is technically mostly driving instead of double lunging.  Lesa is a quick study and fortunately Song knows how to do this and is very responsive.  This skill is difficult and a real challenge to do well.  One of the reasons that I am introducing this into our riding lessons is double lunging is an excellent way to warm up and supple your horse without the weight of a rider.  The rider can also preassess how the horse is feeling that day before you get on.  With Song in particular, because of her arthritis, we do a lot of warm up with her before we start with anything more taxing.

In this video Lesa is doing more double lunging and it is easy to see how this training method helps to collect a horse.  This is much more effective for working a horse ‘over their back’ than running them around a circle on a single line.

In this riding video at the trot Lesa’s position is fairly steady but she has allowed her leg to slip forward making in harder to post smoothly and more difficult to keep her hands still.  She is allowing her hands to post, or move, up and down with each posting stride.  We have been having trouble getting Song to stand still after her halts so this video illustrates a big improvement in that particular challenge.

I left this video in because again Lesa gets a really nice halt from Song and then she relaxes and stands still.

This is an early leg yield for Lesa so I think it is very nice indeed.  I would ask her not to have quite so much bend but otherwise good job.


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Lesa and Song -Aug 3, 2018 – Lesson 44

Lesa has cantered on Song several times but it has almost always been on the lunge line , in the round pen or for just a few strides.  This video is showing the difficulty of asking for the canter depart at a specific place, from the walk instead of the trot, maintaining the canter and guiding Song around the circle.

When I train horses I put a lot of thought into breaking new tasks into small bites.  I am finding that with Lesa I often ask for too much at a time because I forget how much a beginner has to think about each part.  This whole process of training someone in such a short period of time has really helped me as a teacher.  I lie awake nights trying to think about the best way to explain a new concept.  Lesa lives about 40 minutes away from the farm and because Song belongs to me and Lesa doesn’t have a horse, she doesn’t practice at all between lessons.  So this means that Lesa has only ridden a horse less than fifty times at this point.

The beginning of this video clip might make you think that Lesa and Song are an experienced team.  This walk to canter transition was really nice and the canter stayed very balanced and collected for half of the twenty meter circle.  Good job, Lesa.

In this last video again the canter depart was pretty nice but before the depart the trot is fairly stiff and Song is not flexed to the inside on the circle.  Fortunately Lesa asked for the depart as she turned which helped Song pick up the correct lead.  For some reason Lesa was much more tight, and standing in her stirrups which caused her to bounce at the canter a good deal.

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Lesa and Song – July 30, 2018 – Lesson 43

Lesa is doing a good job with posting on the correct diagonal and keeping her position at the trot.  This video shows that she needs more work on school figures.  Her 20 meter circle at E was too small, not very round and didn’t make it to the rail at B.  Also, as she turned she overshot the center line.  The next few lessons we practiced visualizing more accurate figures.  This is the only video from this lesson because I got out in the arena and was working with Lesa’s control, half-halts and contact.

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Lesa and Song – July 18, 2018 – Lesson 42

Lesa is practicing circling in the corners and asking for Song to go in deeper and bend a bit better.  Lesa is using her inside leg to ask Song to move over.  It is getting marginally better.  In the walk across the diagonal Lesa wants Song to lengthen her stride, stretch down and follow her focus.

Lesa is working on the bend to the inside while maintaining a good working walk.  She does a good job of shoulder fore along the long side, keeps the bend in circles in the corners and then does a bit of leg yield at the end.

This working walk is pretty slow but Song has a consistent rhythm while Lesa is working on maintaining a steady contact.  Lesa does a few good steps of shoulder in at her first attempt.

Good working walk and what a great stretch at the free walk across the diagonal.


This is one of Lesa’s first attempts to do a leg yield from the center line.  She has too much bend in Song’s head and neck but very nice rhythm and relaxation.

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