Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Break in the Rain...

The rain finally went on vacation and we had two sunny days this weekend. I spent Saturday with my husband at a car show (the horse show jokes were plentiful: how much bedding should I add to it's parking space? do you need to check in with the show office? and my favorite: After I wipe it down and feed it I'm going to take it for a hand walk. Could you clean it's parking space while I'm gone?)

The outdoor dried out a good bit Saturday, and we rode Sunday. I spent some time trying to quiet my left leg- less nagging and a more prompt response. I worked haunches in and half pass. Things were particularly stuck and hollow in the left haunches in. The half pass right in trot and canter were good, but we need to make sure the haunches don't lead. That's my fault- it's easier for me to think of half pass as a haunches in across the diagonal instead of a sideways shoulder-in. I figure a soft and smooth, straight or slightly haunches leading with good crossover half pass is better than a hollow and tense one where the shoulders lead with little to no crossover. The half pass left in trot was sketchy and inconsistent, in canter it was hollow and drifting instead of crossing. The left haunches in is harder for Mikey- I collapse my right side and I'm sure I don't help him! We'll have to spend more time in that one at walk (which is very good) and trot before moving on to canter.

I worked on his changes after all that warm up. Mikey's butt was tired but he gave me a good first change, right to left, so good that he got a pat and a walk break. His left to right was consistently hollow and running, but clean over the pole. The right to left fell apart quickly. A friend rode with me and said he had a good tempo and rhythm until I made my turns onto the diagonal, and then he changed to almost 4 beating, and then no change. I got one last OK change and quit before I got much further behind.

One thing I noticed in warming Mikey up with haunches in to haunches in was he needed more new inside leg support than I thought, like a lot more. Any comments from people who have worked changes? I'm interested in knowing what works for other people. I find that as I put my new outside leg back pushing for the new bend and lead if I don't put as much pressure at the girth as I did behind, I got sticky swaps instead of prompt ones.

My trainer said when she put him out after dinner he was all slow and "ohhh we're going out now.... ok" instead of his usual peppy self of "Time to go outside!"

Mikey had Monday off while my husband and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. It made me want to fly a dragon. Maybe Mikey will appease me sometime and let me put dragon wings on him and go galloping through a field, cause that's about as close as we're going to get.

Anyway, I finally got to see my trainer on Tuesday, 6/17, and we went over my tests from last weekend (nothing groundbreaking in the comments), then moved on to picking two of the 3rd level tests to ride in July.

Does anyone out there think 3rd test 2 is harder than 3rd test 3? We looked at the tests and were like, these are horses just learning their changes, so 4 changes? with two being on consecutive short diagonal/short diagonal and two on the rail? She said her 4* event tests are just getting to that kind of thing. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me that test 2 rides better than it reads? We settled on 3rd 1 and 3rd 3 for July, unless things go terribly wrong or don't progress and then I'll do 2nd 3 (and try getting a Dover Medal!) and 3rd 1.

We're going to focus on 3rd 3 for now, so we worked on prepping him for the changes with the half pass like the test uses, and using a pole on the straight line to get the change. I have to work on the quality of my walk canter transition, who knew it was so imperative to getting the right canter to get the nice flowing half pass, so then I can send him more forward into a bigger canter for the change? I know, duh.

So today the homework is to take him out on the road and hills and use them to help his medium trot. I rode the other day using the road to help me, two steps medium, back to collected, back to two steps, back to collected, lather, rinse and repeat. Maybe make it 3 steps. I also want to play with the changes in the open, only paying attention to my cues, and putting more forward into them. Let's make it simple.

Mother nature seems hell bent on dumping on us tonight, so I'm hoping to get a ride in between thunderstorms.

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