Do Less and Give More: Tips from the Cindy Ishoy Clinic

written by Megan McIsaac

Excerpt from the article originally published in the August 2018 issue of the eQuester newsletter

Day 1 with Cindy began with correct geometry! Trot and canter in both directions! Then we moved to walk-canter and canter- walk transitions. Cindy asked me to ride 3 steps of leg yield in the canter prior to asking for the walk to increase uphill balance and to really make sure my horse was correctly ridden inside leg to outside rein. She also wanted me to move through the transition into the walk and not hold. After we developed a correct balance, Cindy moved us through our paces!

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1st exercise: Medium canter down the long side, come down the center line, 2 steps of a leg yield and then start the half pass to the wall and the flying change along the wall. The leg yield, made sure I was using the correct aids and it also put him in more up hill balance, which I was able to maintain throughout the half pass and the flying change.

2nd exercise: Half pirouettes on the quarter line. Same use of the leg yield: three steps before the pirouette, during the pirouette giving with my hand forward to ensure that I was not blocking him. And to make sure I was not doing too much, but allowing my horse to come around in the pirouette. I have to be careful that I do not collect too much and make it harder for him!

3rd Exercise: The most fun exercise of the day was for flying changes! I have anxiety about the changes and get too tight, over-ride and mainly get in his way! So, we rode down the center line in left lead canter, leg yield him away from my right leg as well as bent him very little to the right, then asked for the change and immediately 10 m circle right, repeat! Leg yield away from the left leg, change right to left, immediately a 10m circle! We did 4 changes on the centerline. By the last two changes and another centerline, we had some of the most fluid changes ever!

Last, we worked on piaffe. It was confirmed we have piaffe! This made me so happy; as we have been working on piaffe for at least a year now! I just need to slow down and get out of his way.

megan aj2
Photo © Terri Miller

Megan McIsaac has been teaching, riding, and training dressage horses for over twenty years. She is the eleventh person in the country to have earned all six USDF medals, both the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals and the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Freestyle Bars. She has helped many students earn USDF medals and awards. Megan has shown and won at prestigious shows such as Dressage at Devon and this past winter was spent in southern California competing her FEI horse “AJ” in the small tour. Megan and “AJ” are working towards Grand Prix in 2019.

Interested in reading the full article? Check out the August 2018 eQuester Newsletter