It’s been a while since I have posted about working with Estella. This year we’ve been really just doing our own thing, playing with Straightness Training, and have started to dabble in Art2Ride. A good friend mentioned A2R to me a few months ago, and I was immediately intrigued based on the videos I saw. If you aren’t familiar, a little about Art2Ride:
A system based on Classical principles and correct foundation work.Your horse must be relaxed, rhythmical, impulsed, supple and engaged thru the back. If the foundation work is correct the horse will be a pleasure to ride. Learn to take the resistance out of riding for your horse is a willing partner if given a chance. There are no shortcuts and to force a horse into a frame is not going to develop lightness, harmony, balance and willingness.https://art2ride.com/Clinics/
A2R is essentially a community lead by Will Faber to promote true classical principles in dressage. It is largely based around a horse that is relaxed, using his back and engaged. What’s so unique about A2R is that it isn’t some DVD that you have to buy, you can learn everything you need to for FREE from Will’s YouTube channel.
So for the past few months, I have been applying what I have learned from his videos in my work-in-hand with Estella. I wasn’t expecting much of a difference, since we have been doing stretch work for years now. But I have been surprised to see the difference of stretch work in hand, focusing on engagement from being into the contact. Not only have I notice that her walk is much more relaxed and swinging, but her stride is bigger and her topline has improved.
I think the biggest difference I see is in her trot work. When I start with A2R, her trot work is calm, balanced, and even. When I don’t, she rushes, is heavy on her inside shoulder, and loses rhythm. The difference really is night and day. Growing up, I have always heard the importance of the walk, but what teenager wants to walk when there are half passes and flying changes? Now I see the true value in the importance of the walk.
I haven’t done much A2R besides WIH, but I will definitely be continuing with it and hope to make it to a clinic, too!