By Chelsea Smith, MBA // Smith Equine Media, LLC
Photo by Kristin Posner
The Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association (MSEDA) welcomed International Dressage rider, trainer and coach Jeremy Steinberg for a two day dressage clinic held June 24-25, 2017 at Bellantrae Farm in Lexington, Ky.
Riding in the clinic was MSEDA Treasurer Cheryl Steele with her mare Melody. Steele was the recipient of the USEA Area 8 Volunteer Awards Grant for $250, which was used to further develop her partnership with Melody, a 10 year old, 17 hand Hanoverian mare.
“I was looking for my next event/sport horse after my previous horse Irish Whiskey, AKA Junior, needed to drop down a couple of levels. He is now 21 years old. I found Melody three years ago through Julie McVey. She does a lot of trail riding and knew I was looking. She raised and trained Melody since she was a baby,” said Steele.
Steele injured her shoulder in a fall two years ago and has been working to regain core strength and muscle tone. With this in mind, Steele was eager to ride with Jeremy to see how her progress was developing.
At the beginning of their session, Steinberg worked with Steele to be steadier with her body and quieter with her hands. After Steele trotted Melody around the arena a few times, Jeremy quickly instructed Steele to keep Melody going forward and to directly challenge her to keep the momentum going forward.
“The trot is a good challenge point to correct continuous, honest, energy output. With the trot there is no help—the body has to produce it. Challenge the trot and exploit the canter,” said Jeremy.
Once Steele asked Melody to transition from canter to trot, Steinberg asked her to keep the energy going and to be stricter with her cues.
As the lesson continued, Steinberg urged Steele to ignore when Melody gave her a wobble or a loss of connection and to instead keep pushing her forward.
“If you wiggle and wobble in the front and get too involved in that, that can shut down the engine to where the engine doesn’t output enough to give her the arc of roundness through the topline. NO slowing down. Don’t give into any discussion or any dialogue in the front end—keep pushing forward. Don’t accept anything other than, “Yes ma’am, you got it!” I would be very tough on her,” said Jeremy.
As they continued around the arena, Melody started to fall or lean into the turns. Steinberg directed Steele to accelerate to help the mare correct her own balance. He explained his theory by comparing Melody to a car engine.
“[With Melody] there needs to be a constant build up of RPM’s in her engine that give you more and more power right up into the steering wheel,” he said.
Cheryl is looking forward to continuing Jeremy’s exercises at home, "I have only been home about 2 days and already noticed a difference in the way Melody moves. She has been more accepting of my leg aids in going forward and quicker to respond."