From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Martine and Dressage - Training

 I’m confused.  It seems the less I do, the better me & Flurry get.

For example, take my dressage lesson last week. 
It was three weeks since our last lesson.  Flurry and I had both had two and a half weeks off – this was while I was in Lanzarote first of all and then helping at the National Championships the second week. 
I got back late on the Sunday.
On the Monday, we did some loosening stuff in the arena.  Flurry was pretty good – responsive and ongoing, just a little stiffer to bend left, which is normal for him.  We just did circles, transitions and a little leg-yielding, and quit while the going was good after about 30 minutes.
On the Tuesday, we went for a road hack with Anne & Denis.  Nothing hectic, just a 40 minute ride, mostly walking on a loose rein.

Off I went for my lesson in Skevanish with Frank O’Sullivan on Wednesday.
“What have you been doing?” he asked. 
“Nothing much” was my answer, and I reminded him I’d been away and had only come home three days before.

So we started warming up, in a nice free walk, Flurry marching on determinedly. 

Into trot, working long and low, and much to my surprise he stayed long and low through trot/walk/trot transitions.

Picked up the contact, asked for a little more connection, he rounded up easily with no objections – it’s usually a struggle, and takes a minute or two before he relaxes his jaw and works into the contact.

Into canter – well, we had the usual issues in canter. He struggled to stay round in the transitions and on straight lines.  He was much better on a circle, but then he usually is, because his inside hind is more engaged, so he doesn’t fall on the forehand and run on.

Frank suggested we do a few direct walk/canter transitions, and we did.  Perfectly, every time, on the right rein.  Almost as good on the left rein (that’s his stiff side).  Downward transitions were amazingly good – usually he either falls out of canter or runs into trot, totally on the forehand – this time he felt balanced within a stride or two.

We worked on leg-yielding and shoulder-in to keep the inside hind working.  He got softer and softer in my hand and stayed round the whole time in walk and trot work.  We finished up with a bit of canter which was much more engaged.

Frank was… well… gobsmacked, really.  Highly complimentary about how much my riding had improved, and couldn’t believe how much good the break had done both of us.

So this week, we did almost no schooling between lessons, just one day.  I warmed Flurry up long & low, picked him up, did some leg-yielding (not great, going out through the shoulder), shoulder-in, (felt ok but its hard to know when you’re working on your own) and canter transitions, both walk/canter and trot/canter.  Forty minutes max.  And that was it.

Back for our lesson this week, and he was better again. 
The shoulder-in was the best I’ve ever ridden.  Ever.  Even back when I was fit and didn’t have a dodgey back.  I could give & retake the inside rein, and I didn’t have to “nag” him with my inside leg to stay in shoulder-in position.
I rode shoulder-in on a circle – I’ve never done that before!
The leg-yielding was improved because he accepted my half-halts to “capture” his outside shoulder when he started going out through it. 
His trot work throughout was super, it felt soft and bouncy and had a great “tick-tock” rhythm. 
We started worked on lengthened strides in trot and he really really tried.
I rode in sitting trot for nearly the whole lesson and it didn’t hurt!!

Being truthful, there was a downside, the canter is still not perfect.  It’s a work in progress.  Frank had me riding shoulder-fore in canter to try and keep working that inside hind, and it helped a bit.

Maybe if I leave it alone for another week it’ll be fixed.

Following that theory, maybe after three months of just trail-riding in France, we’ll be ready for Grand Prix next April!

I’d settle for not seeing “Needs to be rounder” on my sheet next time I ride a test.

Have to agree - needs to be rounder!


  1. In that 'confused' photo, it looks as if you have taken some of Flurrys food and are chewing on it!!

  2. Denis, you should know by now I have no shame - if I had, I would never have put that video clip up!