Dressage Horse Training: What’s next with Donzer for 2018?

Hello Everyone,

I know dressage must be about the journey but I’m not gonna lie, it feels really good to have finished our USDF Silver scores (still have to wait until the end of the year for the publication).  It is funny how one of the big tipping points this year was when I went back and read my book, Out of the Saddle, 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding, I decided maybe I should try to follow my own advice.  So, I wrote up my plan in a lot of detail.  For people who are not full time horse trainers, this is essential.  We don’t spend 6-8 hours a day in an arena so we need to do things outside of the hour we ride to build the skills in our minds.  It’s challenging to find horse trainers to help build written plans and I think this is because many trainers are dominantly kinanesthetic learners and chose riding to get away from books and writing-lol!

I am reenergized to share all of the things Donzer and I have been doing for the last five years and I’ve drafted my 2018 Training Plan for I1.

Big picture with Donzer

2015–Donzer needed to touch the bit–Counter-flex, leg yield, shoulder-fore for a year on a 20 m circle

2016-Donzer needed to push from behind instead of drag himself around by his front legs–rein-back, step forward into contact for a year

2017-Donzer needed to go forward in front of the leg, summer of canter and teaching him to flex at the poll by lifting the inside hand straight up and then hand back into position

2018-Donzer needed to understand a change of bend does not equal the aid for flying change–lots of canter w/ shoulder out, leg yield at canter

More details on each of these years to come and I will keep you updated on our progress this year.  My goal with creating a written plan is to have a bench mark of goals that we either achieve or clearly know we need more time/focus on a specific movement or time to build strength.

Good Riding,


Out of the Saddle

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