The last week has been busy, busy, busy. Penn and I are back, not quite the way I wanted to be, but he was so super for Championships. It was a great experience. I absolutely cannot wait to see what the future holds. If he's this good after only a year of showing, he's going to be exceptional with a couple years of experience.
I'm piecing together everything from the show and collecting my media. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know how things went and you might have seen my Husband's 20 part play-by-play series of the weekend (when in reality there should probably have been 40+ parts!). I'm going to do a post for each day since there's 5 days worth of media.
First we're going to start with the lesson recap that I didn't get to do before we left:
Trainer went over my last couple tests (papers and videos) while I warmed up, then we went outside to go over the walk and trot work (no walls to lean on).
- Generate more trot by timing leg bumps with his hind legs, then give opposite finger wiggles to help steady him (yea, I was NOT coordinated to do this successfully- but I still got some semblance of what she wanted). She recommended rein aids for this winter- Penn holds steady in the bridle, but every few steps just braces and makes a slight rooting action (not actually rooting), and it eats up any elasticity in the reins. She thinks the elastic rein aids will help him stop that behavior.
- Don't shut him down in 10m trot circles. Keep bumping him forward. Also, don't flatten the circle on centerline- I tend to get halfway through, take a straight step, then keep going. Don't do that.
- We worked on the halts again. I apparently did my job the previous week because she didn't have much bad to say about them. She had me ride them in all kinds of patterns besides the test pattern.
- Don't be afraid of the leg yields. Push them forward and over. Trust Penn in them. Get a whooshy feeling going, like an ice skater. Send him forward down the first leg yield zig zag, then guide him into the second one without shutting anything down. This paired perfectly with the tactic I figured out a few weeks ago- leg yield to X, then change the direction by "leading" him in the new direction with the outside rein, he takes a first step the new way, then change the bend. It made for very fluid, whooshy changes.
Since the outdoor was hard as a rock, we went to the indoor to do our canter work.
- Canter lengthenings are really coming along: I finally figured out how to follow Penn's head and neck with my hands, which meant I didn't lock my elbows and shut it down. Doh.
- Shallow loops were good.
- We worked on the simple change a bit. Trainer didn't like the number of steps I was taking because they often got shuffly and sometimes inverted. The simple change from left to right was better, but that's not the one we do in the test. She had me work the right to left. She thought I was getting a bit floaty in my left hand trying to encourage the new direction and new lead, so she had me think about gluing my left elbow to my side and becoming very very straight on that side throughout the entire diagonal. Holy poop, that made a huge difference! Penn no longer fell into trot part of the time, and he was balanced enough that I could pop him back into canter after 2-4 trot steps, with zero question about if I was going to get the new lead. I had to relearn how to center that over X though since the change happened so much faster.
She finished with, "There's nothing else I can do for you. You're ready. Don't screw up!"
No problem Boss. *cue nervous laughter*
Penn went for a trail ride Wednesday, then I packed all afternoon. Packing was too easy, I didn't have enough stuff. I thought I probably forgot something (I did- I forgot his shampoo and had to buy more at the show!)
|Strap all that good stuff in!|
|I got creative to get things to dry, then filled my backseat.|
Side note, I can't wait to use that elbow straightness thing in the flying changes. I always try to lead the horse in the new direction and I'm afraid to get the horse truly straight... even though that is what the horse needs to be in order to get proper flying changes.
Next up, the drive to NC!