Ugly Ducklings

So, here’s my favorite part of dressage. The concept is simple.  The rider uses subtle shifts in balance to adjust the horse’s balance, and through careful use of these adjustments, the horse is gymnasticized. As the horse becomes stronger and more supple, more balanced and lighter to the rider’s aids, he becomes more beautiful.

The best part is, it works on any horse. I think seeing a horse transform over time has got to be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying processes I’ve ever been a part of.  The process may be easier or faster with a purpose bred horse, but with time and patience you can do this with whatever horse you have.

So an ugly duckling like this….  (Sept 2010)

May start under saddle looking like this: (Oct 2010)

Begins to develop into this:   (Dec 2010)

And as he builds strength starts to look like this:  (Sep 2011)

And becomes capable of offering gaits like this:

Yes, any horse can do dressage, and dressage can improve any horse! You gotta admit it’s pretty cool… 🙂

11 thoughts on “Ugly Ducklings

  1. I don’t think my horse ever had an ugly duckling phase… but I am sure loving watching him develop! I’ve seen quite a few “upper level” dressage horses in the area who have zero back muscle with no saddle on, and it’s sickening. They look about like Remy when you got him as far as muscle development. I can only imagine what they’re doing to those horses’ bodies by forcing them into movements they’re not developed for, and not using themselves properly to do. Just because a horse is talented and can get away with it until its crippled doesn’t mean the owner should take advantage of that fact… they should learn from you!

  2. I love seeing the transitions too 🙂 Especially when there’s a series of photographs that make you realise just how great the transition has been. It’s easy to forget what you started with because you hardly notice the incremental changes. I can’t believe how little neck he started with! So beautiful now 🙂

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