Dressage rider Laura Graves came to Highpoint Equestrian Centre, in Langley BC in the summer of 2019. Laura is an amazing dressage clinician. We had two full days and we all learned so much. Although each ride gave us so many things to think about - what has stayed with me everyday is her focus on quality. Laura is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to quality.
A simple example would be; Can you do a collected trot for an 8? Can you trot across the diagonal and keep it an 8? Can you leg yield and keep that trot an 8? if you can't - you need to reduce the angle until you can keep that 8 quality. You add angle and difficulty only as you can maintain the quality. I have found this really useful!
Dressage and art both require a focus on quality
In dressage, the term quality of the horses gaits refers to their freedom, elasticity, flexibility, looseness, fluency and amplitude ie expression while staying in balance.
For me - this dressage horse painting in tonal sketch style was also an exercise in quality. This was a quicker, less detailed horse painting yet not so quick that I have sacrificed my horse drawing, tonal values, brushwork and paint technique. As a horse artist, if you are putting your working sketches out there - they need to reflect the quality of your horse art.