|Kicking ass in the ring!|
Penn and I haven't gone down centerline since Championships in September. It's not that long of a time! But here are the show nerves, raging away as I read the schedule for this Sunday's middle of no where schooling show.
|Mikey, 3rd Level entrance, July 2015|
It's not like I've never ridden 2nd or 3rd. I was kind of successful at second with Mikey- a botched test still got us a 60. Third never went well. It's just been a while, a year and a half in fact. Penn is so much more through and connected than Mikey ever was, and far more confirmed in everything (except medium/extended trots- but those are my issue I think). I still feel like it's not good enough.
|Mikey, 3rd Level, 2014|
Penn isn't solid yet. I rode him for a lady in the barn who has a good eye for the movements and their correctness. She helped me with my SI and half pass angles (I had too much), and eyeballed the canter. He's flip flopping between 4 beat and 3 beat, but she didn't have any ideas why. I think he's just not strong enough to be up and engaged and 3 beating. He needs some steps to get going, then clears up to 3 beat. Our biggest issue in canter though? Balance. He's struggling with his front to back balance, especially as he gets tired- he'll rock forward one stride, then lifts back up a stride or two later. He's relatively light in my hand though, that's nice. I was super happy with all the work Penn did on Sunday though, he listened, he tried, I didn't get in the way too much.
|I'm glad my inside leg doesn't do that anymore in SI.|
My ride last night was both hit and miss. He carried a bit of tension, which didn't help anything. I worked on the walk to start since he's been sketchy about connecting in walk (I've been trying to follow his motion with my elbows a lot more, which helps). I messed with extended walk and free walk to collected walk and back again. His turn on the haunches was good, until I tried to mix it into the middle of a test later on. His halts were super, rein back nice and diagonal and prompt. I practiced some centerlines and he gawked like a 4 year old doing his first intro test. I rode a ton of those and worked on keeping him straight and connected and the halts were just awesome. He still wants to shift his hind end right, but a hair more right leg keeps it in line, no problem.
The canter was OK. Nothing spectacular. I ran through the canter pattern from 2-3 (doing steep shallow loops instead of the 3 loop because the indoor isn't long enough). The left to right simple change is complete crap. Like, just give me the zero now. He can do it on a 10m circle, but the straight line is hard. The transition walk to right lead is good though.
I ran through the entire 3-1 test, minus the flying changes (more on that in a min). The left SI and half pass were meh, the right was good. Medium trot needed more, but might be passable. I decided to try hooking a finger under my grab strap again, like I did for Mikey. We'll see if that works for Penn. Turn on the haunch left was probably a 5.5, the right was a 4 at best- no bend, resistant, too large. Canter was nothing special, except he positively fell apart gloriously when I did a left to right simple change instead of flying. The extended trot was complete crap but I think it was my fault, and the centerline didn't recover much.
I have not touched his flying changes since before the last time I saw GP Trainer. They really jazz him up and he gets thinking about them. They're adding to my anxiety- simply because I haven't touched them and I've worked the counter canter so much. My plan was to not touch them, then 3 min before my 3-1 test, do a single change in warm up to remind him they're there. It's been super hard to stick to this plan, but I think it's for the best. We'll work on being able to do them without theatrics between this show and the next one.
|Please let me channel this!|
I just want to score above 60 in both tests. I do not want to embarrass myself. I imagine scoring above 60 is stretching our abilities right now. He just feels so much more solid at this than Mikey ever did, and Mikey managed 60-64% at second and well, we won't talk about third! He would have been right at 60% if he had good changes. I'm also a much better rider now than when Mikey and I were attempting third. Do justice for the horse, myself, the training we've gotten. Prove I've got this. The pressure is all in my head and I just have to remember to breathe, relax, and RIDE.
I've ridden for this judge multiple times (she's an R judge). She is hard to impress. Trying to push that out of my head.
Anyway, this post kind of helped dispel some of the nerves (as well as messaging jenj!). Sorry to send you all a nervous post!