Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 5

After last week’s positives, come this week’s … okays.

At the end of last week, my neck was enjoying brief moments of straightness (bliss), but the gods of chance rolled the dice and this week the twist has returned with a vengeance. I actually thought at one point, that I shouldn’t be attempting to walk or catch the bus, because I was an accident waiting to happen. However, one soldiers on some how, which brings me on to the best activity of the week. Riding.

This week hasn’t gone quite to plan as my usual instructor was away and the temporary (not very good) replacement just couldn’t get her head round the fact that I’m a twisted wreck, with limited vision on my right hand side.

Therefore, rather than attempt anything new, I’ve put the focus on trying to get Tosca to respond promptly to aids, without nagging. As I’ve ridden her on and off for a few years, I know what her good and bad points are. Last week, we had real success in terms of getting her to canter, and stay there (rather than fall out of it, back to trot, after a few strides).

This week, I’ve tried trot-canter-trot-canter transitions, on a circle. I’ve varied the length of time in each gait and she’s been brilliant. Also, her responsiveness to changes in direction on shapes, is also improving. 5-10 minutes of quick fire transition changes, really seems to make a difference. I think she enjoys doing schooling. As long as it’s out in a field (which is understandable). By the time we stopped, she was doing walk-canter transitions with just a quick squeeze of the leg.

Since re-starting riding, I haven’t attempted to do any leg yielding or other lateral moves, for two reasons. Firstly, I’m not sure if Tosca has even been taught anything more than a leg yield, and secondly, I’m struggling to give the aids correctly in conjunction with trying to control my head. However, today, we managed one stride of leg yield! So, even if we never do it again, I’m chalking this up as a success.

My usual instructor will be back next week and I shall be working with her on some tips which Aspire Equestrian have given me (Thank you).

Have a great week.


About Dystonia Girl

Horse rider who loves to blog and do lots of other things too. Lives with, but is not defined by, a rare neurological condition called Dystonia.
This entry was posted in Dystonia, Horse Riding and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 5

  1. Ah shame about your instructor being away, it must be such an important part of your riding progress to have someone there who understands the whole situation. I will look forward to your next report and really happy to be able to be of help.

    I also came across this website: – it follows a para dressage rider with dystonia, thought you might like to read (if you haven’t already!).

    • Thank you. I really appreciate your suggestions. I was looking forward to trying out your ideas about visualisation, but, without having that understanding from the ‘eyes on the ground’, it is a bit tricky. Should be ok for next week though. Thanks for Amanda’s website. I tracked her down a couple of months ago and she’s been kind enough to give me some ideas too. People have been very generous with their time and thoughts. I just want to get out there and do it!

      • It’s a pleasure to help, it’s most enjoyable side of teaching riding.
        That’s great re Amanda’s help! Hope you get a chance to work on all the tips and ideas soon.

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