This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.

Bella, Grace and Jack

Bella aged 6

Bella aged 6

Treat Delivery

Jack aged 7


Monday, 10 November 2008

Bella 24th August 2008

. I was playing around with getting her to follow an upward feel on the move, in walk, starting from this;

Don't know what's happening here (we haven't done piaffe yet, honest), but I like it!

Going on to this:

Overdoing it a bit in leg yield!!!

Travers, in spite of her rider's dreadful position:

Our very first step ever of ridden half pass! I didn't mean to ask for it. I was going to ask for leg yield but forgot to change the bend as we came onto the diagonal. She was very hesitant here, in this first step, but, with a bit more bend and confidence, and a rider's lower leg kept on, to bend around, this has definate half pass potential, I think! She is bending in the direction of movement, just; it's not very obvious, but it's a start!

I've got loads to work on with myself. I have developed pointing my foot in the direction of movement into pointing my whole leg! This must be on the principle of more must be better, I suppose. It doesn't give her much to bend around though! I kind of knew that I'd started doing it, but there's nothing like seeing it with my own eyes to make me want to change. Also I am taking 'without elbows there is no riding' to extremes too, and my lower leg is a long way back for some reason in some of the photos, and I need to start looking up sometime soon! However, I am sitting down and up more than I was. I am very round shouldered at the best of times (it comes of years spent hunched over a muckfork), so it's hard for me to get my shoulders back without stiffening up, but I'm getting there.

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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!