In which "couples therapy" is on hold, and I haven't written much

It occurs to me that I haven't actually written much about our winter
Dressage for Endurance Riders lessons.

Dory makes us work and (mostly) doesn't make us cry.

Contrary to what lytha says, dressage is not a crying sport.

That doesn't mean it's easy.  It's not easy.  But, hey.  

We are endurance riders.  We eat easy for lunch so we can get back out and ride another 25 miles.

Sometimes, even the warmups are difficult.

Stand in your stirrups for a lap around the arena.
Now, post the walk for a lap around the arena.
Now, post the walk without stirrups all the way around.
Oh, you're tired?  Too bad.  Do it all the other direction.

Margie's legs are short and her horse is tall.
She is extra-motivated not to fall off during stretches.

We've spent the whole winter improving our equitation.  Our posture is better.  Our legs are stronger.

Rating the trot:  collected.  working.  extended.  and back to collected again.

But mostly, we communicate better with our horses now.

Ariana is accustomed to making all the decisions for her rider.  
She and Patty have improved their negotiation skills.

It's not always smooth.  Sometimes there is backsliding.

Kolton joined the group recently, and practices like crazy to
keep up with all the ladies.

When it works, it really works.  We get lots of good feedback from Dory,

and lots of encouragement from everyone.

Lessons aren't just a way to pass the time while the weather outside is frightful.

Lessons help us take stuff like this...

...and this...

...and turn it into stuff like this.

Mt Adams Endurance Ride, 2015

We'll spend most of the good summer weather out on the trails, of course.

But come wintertime, we'll be back in the arena, improving our couples communication.

What about you?  

What do you do in the "off-season" to improve your skills? 

How does it translate into your "on-season"?


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