Dressage Today OnDemand: Charles de Kunffy Collection Day 1, Rides 1 & 2

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Be sure to check out my previous posts on the lecture days from this clinic!

Charles de Kunffy – Classical Lecture Day 1

Charles de Kunffy – Classical Lecture Day 2

The following video reviews are from Day 1 of the clinic at JJ Tate’s farm! Enjoy my notes below! Dressage Today OnDemand subscribers can click on the videos!

Day 1 Ride 1

While the audio on this video was not the best quality, the horse, rider, and teaching were amazing! This pair was absolutely lovely to watch. Here are my notes from this video plus the exercises he chose for this combination!

  • correct a crooked horse by placing the shoulders in front of the haunches, not the other way around
  • warm up joints evenly by incorporating changes of direction
  • keep feeding the inside rein to encourage the horse to reach with the inside hind leg
  • move on to lengthening and shortening of the strides (looking for quick reactions)
  • add smaller circles and shoulder in, but be aware of tilting in the head (too much inside rein)
  • shoulder-in increases collection, while shoulder-out increases engagement and energy
  • poll should be up, nose is ahead of the eyes
  • canter to halt transitions increase lumbar strength
  • teaching is repeating – however if the horse did not improve or understand the exercise, Charles moved on and came back to it later
  • arms, elbows, and reins are an extension of the seat
  • haunches-in without inside bend is a shoulder-out

Here are the patterns/exercises that Charles had the pair go through:

  • develop haunches-in on the 10 meter circle at trot, go down the quarter line in haunches-in, 20 meter circle at opposite end of arena / change diagonal and lengthen / repeat other direction
  • 20 meter circle at trot / halt at A / canter from halt – outside leg back, inside leg down, squeeze both legs on and off, then go!
  • plié in canter
  • haunches-in on circle to half pass
  • shoulder-in at trot, canter 4 strides, back to shoulder-in at trot (repeat on the circle)

Day 1 Ride 2

The second rider of the day is JJ Tate! She is riding a Grand Prix horse who has been ridden with too much contact, causing him to be short and tense in his neck.

Charles has them ride patterns of shoulder-in to haunches-out and haunches-in to shoulder-out, to focus on the lumbar back. He also has JJ focus on her lower back to help position her seat bones deeper in the saddle. In every exercise, he is reminding JJ to give forward with her hands and encourage the horse to reach.

They continue their lesson with walk and canter pirouettes, half pass, piaffe, and passage. The focus in these movements continues to be giving forward with the hands and changing the tempo to encourage the horse to reach. Charles wants the horse to feel energized but not held. It was a beautiful change to watch this horse realize he had the freedom to move his shoulders and neck which allowed him to put more weight behind.

As there were still a few minutes left, Charles requested to see tempi changes. Even with the sound issues that still continued in this video (so bummed it didn’t clear up yet!), you could hear the horse’s front hooves pounding the ground with each stride and the changes appeared flat. This led to a discussion of how too much contact can cause a horse to be croup high and heavy on the forehand. JJ began to ride smaller circles at the canter while encouraging the horse to become lighter in front by giving her hands often. Within seconds, his footfalls become lighter and he takes more weight behind.

There are still so many more videos to watch! Stayed tuned as I continue to share my experience exploring Dressage Today OnDemand and one of my favorite collections!

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Happy riding!


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