Today we had a happy time doing what we do. Circling on long lines is never dull. I stand and walk and “trot” a little along-side Encore! I watch her moves and her attitude from alongside rather than topside and often get a better perspective on how to proceed. The view is fascinating and leads to remarkable insights about Encore! Today I celebrate her talking tail.
I love the position of Encore’s tail. I couldn’t see this if I were riding her. Yes, I could see it if I had mirrors, as many dressage riders do, but I don’t. I don’t even have a round pen, so long lining gives me what I most enjoy, a ground eye view of Encore! in motion. Best of all I have full view of her tail. It is slightly lifted and relaxed. It is bell weather for me. I look at her tail as she trots and canters around me and it is quiet. I often tell her that when every part of her, in all her exercises, becomes like her tail, we will have achieved our goal. Her tail, which she used to clamp, is a hint of how far she has come and how far we can go. I work from her rear end to her head. Encore’s tail whispers, “I can do this with grace and joy today even if I might not want to.” In other words, Encore! telegraphs with her tail that she is willing to go along with the program and possibly even master the art of dressage.
The rest of Encore’s body in motion is often a different story. Fortunately, we’re not in any hurry. I will look for grace and relaxation to move through her body to her head as we proceed. The canter, which is alternately calm and chaotic, still has moments of playful uprising and uneven tempo. Her rhythm is impeccable. Her tempo is like a halting piano player trying to figure out the chords as he or she stumbles along not sure of the melody. When it all comes together, like her steady tail, we’ll be as pretty as a ballet dancer that has mastered her moves and put them gracefully in sync with the music. Until then we will practice, practice, and practice until we get to our Carnegie Hall.