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

I'm having practise at coping with frustration again - with myself! I get on Bella and I have exactly what Alexandra Kurland promised I would have after the single rein riding - a finely tuned, super responsive, distraction free horse who will answer my every request to the very best of her ability.

Wonderful, if only I were a finely tuned dressage rider who knew exactly how to ride all the movements without trying. For some reason I can ride shoulder in, from the in hand work, but nothing else I try in the way of lateral work seems to transfer over. I know that I am trying too hard and doing too much. Bella is only little, so she needs me to be responsable for my own balance and to be right, even more than a big horse would. I just feel too clumsy and too stiff when I start to 'try'.

Bella is being very long suffering and doing her best to oblige, but half pass (which she does beautifully in hand and at liberty) renvers and travers seem, at the moment, so remote I doubt that I will ever get there (leg yeild isn't great either), and the fault is, as always, all mine!

I need to get to grips with the James Shaw stuff. I have had the book for ages and barely done more than glance through it. I can't keep just getting on her, knowing the theory and hoping I will somehow work out how to ride it in practise. It isn't fair on Bella. I MUST SHAPE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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