I had a rodeo dressage lesson on Sunday. What is rodeo dressage you ask? It’s when your dressage instructor spends the majority of your lesson rapidly feeding you tips on how to disengage the hind end of the bronco you are riding up, down, and around the arena. It was a special Sunny Sunday treat that I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve. I lunged him before my lesson and he wasn’t super squirrelly just did his normal “see what buttons I can push” routine where he’ll be trotting along and then he’ll look at me and kind of pin his ears and threaten to come in on the circle or switch directions. When this happens I make a correction noise and keep him moving forward but I have to watch him like a hawk because he is constantly testing the waters.
The ride was going fine to start, we were both warmed up and my instructor had us work on an exercise to help with our rhythm and relaxation since Sunny starts out stiff but then sometimes remains tense after he works the stiffness out. We leveled out our trot and he started seeking contact with the bit a little more. We did some spiraling circles in both directions and everything was going fine. Not amazing, but fine. We did some leg yielding towards the rail and then after a few more balanced long walls we added a canter transition after the leg yield. Sunny wasn’t thrilled but he picked up a decent left canter. We came back to the trot for a lap and then switched directions. This was about the time Sunny decided he didn’t want to participate in the dressage lesson anymore. We were tracking right on the rail and I hadn’t asked him to do anything yet but I suppose he anticipated we were going to be asking him to leg yield and then later canter in this direction so he started to do his patented stomp while trotting routine. I squeezed him briefly with my legs and told him to “quit”. He promptly responded by bucking twice. I wasn’t super prepared for it and lost my right stirrup. I slowed him just to pick my stirrup back up and then asked him to trot-on. He bucked again and this time at the request of my instructor I pulled him in a fairly small circle so he couldn’t buck anymore. After a handful of revolutions on the angry merry-go-round I let him continue trotting on the rail. He pinned his ears and humped his back again so we did some more circles. And then some more circles, and then we did a few more circles. Each time he pinned his ears and tried to lower his head we circled. And that was the rest of our dressage lesson.