Dressage Today OnDemand: Janet Foy Clinic – Counter Canter, Bend, and Impulsion

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Janet Foy Clinic at Copper Light Farm

This video collection offers 18 videos.

“FEI 5* Judge Janet Foy gives a full-day clinic at beautiful Copper Light Farm in Vero Beach, Florida. She works with a wide variety of riders, from Training Level through Grand Prix, and horses, including an Arabian, jumper and Quarter Horse schooling all the Grand Prix movements. Janet is full of helpful tips from her perspective as a rider, trainer and judge.”

The first video that grabbed my attention was on counter canter. My goal is to ride a First Level test with Josie by the end of 2022. Sounds like a good place to start!

First Level Counter Canter

Dressage Today OnDemand subscribers can click on this video to view!

The video begins with Janet explaining the movement in the test, which she describes as two corners with one loop. The horse must stay bending in the direction of the lead, with as much bend as you would have on a 20-meter circle. She emphasizes that you must get out of the corner quickly and should aim for two straight strides over centerline. Be sure to keep riding even if the horse breaks. Immediately go right back to canter.

The horse in this video is young and started his career as a hunter. Having already learned changes, he struggles with understanding that he needs to maintain the same lead on this loop. The horse was only doing what he had been taught; his direction dictates his lead.

I loved watching Janet break the exercise down to help the horse understand what was being asked of him so he could be successful!

Here’s how she did it…

  • Ride the first corner, begin the loop, at centerline go straight
  • Next, ride the first corner, begin the loop, at centerline go straight, then haunches in

Although Janet stresses the importance of the outside leg to maintain the lead, the horse continues to change. No worries! Janet breaks it down even further to help him understand the exercise.

  • Ride the first corner, begin the loop, at the quarter-line go straight

He can do this one! Now, she has the rider add another piece of the puzzle. After she rides straight on the quarter-line, she must slowly ride him back to the rail. There are cheers from Janet as the horse maintains his lead through the entire exercise. He now understands what is being asked of him and performs it easily.

This was a great example of problem-solving to help both horse and rider gain confidence as they move up to the next level!

Bend and Impulsion in Warm-Up

Dressage Today OnDemand subscribers can click on this video to view!

In this video, Janet coaches the rider through her warm-up. Her horse is stiff both longitudinally and laterally. She notes that the smart rider will not try to fix both issues at once. They start with testing bend on a circle in his easier direction. Once they establish bend, she challenges the rider to see how forward she can get him before he becomes stiff again.

As they leave the circle, Janet describes the horse’s body is like a “C” while he’s on the circle, but more like a parenthesis when he is traveling down the long side in shoulder-fore. If at any time the horse becomes stiff, she instructs the rider to circle, placing emphasis on the size of the circle. If you have a horse that is rushing, a small circle would be beneficial. For a lazy horse, like the one in this video, a larger circle is best.

They end the warm-up with leg yielding.

Don’t have a Dressage Today OnDemand subscription? Check out this free video on how Janet scores a free walk!

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Happy riding!


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