THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH IS BACK! (Send yours to us for an answer) The Newest:
Rx for Pirouettes (continued from last month’s What can you tell me about schooling canter pirouettes?)
BILL—If you are having trouble with canter pirouettes, the solution is usually not to do more of them. The question, however, is what to do instead. My answer is to list all the elements of the relationship with your horse which you need to perform a pirouette correctly. Then remembering the Vending Machine analogy from DRESSAGE Unscrambled, devise specific exercises which test that each of the reactions you need are present in him.
First of all, is he really on the bit and does he stay there?
Next: transitions – all of them – Are they prompt? Beginning with the simple ones – walk to halt and halt to work – and on up through simple changes, canter directly to walk (in balance), and canter departs directly from the halt.
Work in the walk – Do all of the lateral movements work? Can you start them and stop them at will? Are the turns on the haunches prompt and active? Can you turn the shoulders quicker than you would in a performance movement? Can you interrupt the movement at any step and either halt or trot directly forward whichever way you’re facing. Can you spiral a leg yielding in and out? Can you ride a controlled travers on a small circle – even as small as four meters without your horse anticipating?
Now be able to answer all the same questions in the trot. Can you put each of his parts anywhere you want, beginning and ending the exercise at your pleasure?
And then be able to answer the same questions in the canter. Can you half pass in and leg yield out from a 20 m circle? Can you canter a 6 m circle without your horse falling in? How about a 6 m circle in travers, starting and stopping the movement when you like? Then the same thing on a 4 m circle?
Will your horse canter nearly on the spot for at least a few steps without you having to pull on him to shorten him? Can you give the rein without him falling forward?
Then it’s time to work on partial pirouettes, mostly quarters but sometimes halves. Again, can you start them and stop them or switch to another variant of the exercises if he’s getting ahead of the aids?
Never lose sight that the goal is not just to get him somehow through the movement! Keep him honest. Keep him up. Keep him light. And keep him thinking. Be able to ride every stride individually and you will have a real pirouette.
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BILL’s On-Line Store — STORECRAZY — is here to provide you with items that Dover and John Nunn can’t offer. Here’s a quick sample.
CLICK HERE to find many more items you won’t want to live without!
Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but this is real. If you’re in the Ocala area, here is equestrian-friendly yoga right in the heart of horse country.
NEW EVENTING TESTS!
If you want the US Eventing Tests which go into effect December 1, 2017, they are here: http://useventing.com/resource/dressage-tests-0 . If you want the US Dressage tests which go into effect December 1, 2018. You are going to have to wait until they are finalized … in 2018.
[A Note from Bill]
Let me introduce our Associate Editor, Hayden Finch. “Sidd” worked with us back in the ’80s when Susan and I edited A Tip of the Hat, the New England Dressage Association’s newsletter. Prior to beginning his career in journalism, Sidd scratched his competitive itch with a brief foray into professional baseball. In his first stint with us, Sidd penned this alternative biographical sketch of me for the Dallas Dressage Club newsletter publicizing a clinic I did for that group:
Bill’s bio courtesy of Sidd Finch
Bill Woods (not his real name) comes to the Dallas area several times a year. He and his wife, Onyx, are members of the Federal Dressage Witness Protection Program; thus, their true place of residence is unknown. Both train and compete most of the year in central Florida, often in disguise. Bill has been teaching in Texas since the mid ‘80s, having been brought here by Lisa Brown.They had met in New Hampshire some years before, drawn together by a mutual love of hybrid roses which they tended on summer afternoons at the institution.
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MORE HYPE ABOUT THE TROVE OF PAST BLOGS WHICH AWAIT YOU
If any of the following snippets pique your curiosity, you can find the story archived on this site. It’s DRESSAGE Unscrambled, with a twist—it’s free! More than two dozen dozen (more than 330) posts accessed by this click.
Remember Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich in the victory lap after their gold medal win at the ’84 LA Olympics? All those 76 one tempis in a row? Well, for old time’s sake, click here for the instant replay!
The Horse Protection Association of Florida needs your help!
HPAF receives no state or federal funding and exists only through donations. The amount of neglected horses and horses whose owners can no longer afford to feed them has exploded recently and your donations make it possible for HPAF to continue the work of protecting and saving horses.
“LINT IS A SHELL’S BEST FRIEND” CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHY
Quote of the Month
“We are all time travelers — just the really dull kind — ones plodding through the 4th dimension one pathetic second at a time.” (Robert Smith on NPR’s Talk of the Nation)
Quote of All Time
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang onto, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” Chögyam Trungpa
Click to view an important cultural icon: “Bambi Meets Godzilla”
LIFE GETTING YOU DOWN? THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS CLICK HERE FOR RELIEF OK, GO!
An audio treat for your dining and dancing pleasure? CLICK HERE
FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS — A FANCIFUL VIDEO MONTAGE TO LEONARD COHEN’S “DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE.” The tango sequence is from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman.
For the One Minute Version of everything you need to know about woodsdressage.com – CLICK HERE
Below: To imprint in your mind. Harmony in the person of Col. Kurt Albrecht von Ziegner. His mount unknown.
Carl Sagan speaks of The Pale Blue Dot. Please click below and watch this!
It’s another Monday!
If this August’s total eclipse of the sun worked for you (or if you were indoors at the movies), there’s a second showing. The date will be April 8, 2024. Visible in the US on a swath from Texas through parts of the Midwest to Buffalo. I am not going to miss it!
TUNY, the French Bulldog, has agreed to assume BRUCE’S role as the official Safety Coordinator of this website. If, as you’re reading, she issues the “Duck and Cover” instruction, please climb under your desk and assume the position until she issues her All Clear announcement.