Dressage Today OnDemand: The Laura Graves Collection (Part 1)

Sharing my experience as I explore Dressage Today OnDemand!

The Dressage Today OnDemand Ambassador Experience

Please join me as I share feedback on my experience with Dressage Today OnDemand!

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In October 2021, Laura Graves came to Lexington as an exhibitor for Equitana, held at the Kentucky Horse Park. I was so excited to audit. I had never watched Laura teach, but I certainly enjoyed watching her ride! I scheduled the entire day on my calendar so I didn’t accidentally make other plans and miss her. I have a horrible co-dependency on my calendar. My short-term memory is crap so if I don’t write it down, guaranteed I’ll schedule something else!

I am fortunate that the Horse Park is a little more than an hour’s drive from my house, but it seems that every time I go, it rains. Before I moved to Kentucky, a few of us from Pennsylvania planned to drive down for Rolex (now Land Rover). It was a sloppy, rainy mess that day and I cried uncle only a few hours in as I was shivering and soaked. I’ve gone to support friends at horse shows, and it’s rained. USDF Finals in November? Wind, rain, and we drove home in snow squalls. I guess that’s just Kentucky weather!

The rain was scheduled to start shortly after we arrived at Equitana. The exhibitor schedule was under review as many demonstrations were supposed to be outside. We shopped around the vendor fair in the covered arena waiting for the schedule to be posted. Not a bad way to procrastinate.

I was relieved to find out that Laura was in the Alltech Arena. Oh, thank goodness! Off I went to find a golf cart to shuttle me over while my friend stayed in the covered arena to see other exhibitors and was planning to meet up with me later. While I enjoy the company of good friends, I can easily get lost in a good dressage clinic solo. Give me food and coffee and I’m set for the day!

My passion for dressage is growing every year. As I continue to learn more about the sport, I become further dedicated to it and more particular about who I follow. I have a vision of the rider I want to be and the training styles I prefer to get me there. I had no idea if I would like Laura’s style or not, but here was the chance to watch her for only the price of admission into Equitana. What a privilege.

The experience was awesome. She was classy, kind, and a force. Wow. She never yelled but she was tough! Her vision for each pair was immediate within the first few minutes and she did not hesitate to let the riders know when they were not holding up their end of the partnership. No participation trophies today folks! But I loved it. I could have sat there all day. Everything she was asking of the riders was fair but very clear. I would definitely recommend attending one of her clinics. If she doesn’t come to your area, you’ve got 70+ Laura Graves videos on OnDemand to explore from your couch!

Laura Graves Clinic @ Equitana

OnDemand Videos

Here are a few of the videos I have watched so far. I have incorporated a few of the training tools she discusses in the first video to help Josie with her anticipation of the leg aids with success! I am definitely banking these tips in my training toolbox!

Laura Graves – Riding a Tense Horse, The Lesson

Description from Dressage Today OnDemand
“U.S. Olympian Laura Graves works with Gwendolyn Powers, riding Calliope (“Callie”), her 8-year-old mare who tends to be tense. Laura offers tips on how to work through the tension and helps the rider keep her horse on the aids. One of the biggest takeaways is knowing that you must put your leg on, even when your instincts are telling you not to. We hope you enjoy this wonderful lesson, followed by an insightful interview with Laura and Gwendolyn, brought to you from the historic Hamilton Farm, home of the U.S. Equestrian Team in Gladstone, New Jersey.”

Walk Canter Transitions and Straightness by Laura Graves

Description from Dressage Today OnDemand
“Laura watches this pair warm up and suggests that the rider occasionally give in the rein because they have had issues with being heavy.  In the canter they work on keeping her straight on the left rein, pointing out that she must become independent of the bend and not rely on it to keep the canter. The rider has expressed concern with the walk canter transitions, and Laura has her first work on transitions within the walk. They do a 10 meter walk circle and ask for the up transition to canter when they are facing the wall.  They next ride the leg yields at the canter.”

Walk Canter Transitions and Straightness by Laura Graves Part 2

Description from Dressage Today OnDemand
“They continue with the canter leg yield exercise on the right lead, and Laura helps them maintain straightness.  Laura points out how much easier it is for the mare to reach under and push with the left hind than the right, and how these exercises and increase in rideability will really help when they school the half pass.”

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Happy riding!

Sara

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