I had a lesson with Kelley on Friday morning, to further assess the locking snaffle. After doing flatwork in it on Tuesday, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. We spent a good bit of time just working on getting her to relax and not worry about contact with it, and were getting some really lovely canter transitions. Then we moved on to a jumping exercise which we’ve done before, and has been quite helpful for us–a placing pole to a single vertical with a placing pole on the other side, so that it can be jumped both ways. We did some work with this, mainly focusing on getting her to relax down to it, and me to sit up and ride properly, with a quiet halt after. Secret to me not riding like a monkey: rather than counting, chant sit-up, sit-up, and then voila, no neck laying or flopping on the other side of the fence. Eventually we progressed to landing and cantering a circle, then reapproaching the fence. This got her a bit revved up but we persevered through many circles. We both agreed that while the locking snaffle had some positive points for her, it wasn’t quite what she likes or needs. Kelley left us two other bits to try, one a baucher to try between now and our next lesson, and a basic three ring elevator that she wants me to wait and try during our next lesson.
Post-lesson, it was show prep (read: clean your grungy tack) and course walk time. The course opened at 3, and was still in progress when I started my walk. It looks pretty straightforward, though as Kelley pointed out, I need to remember that asking her to go through the gates at pace is an obstacle too, so plan for it. The stadium fences all look newish, but the XC fences that have been pulled in for the CrossDerby are all fences we’ve jumped before, which gives me confidence. 18 fences, in three rings and two at the edge of the XC course. My goal is to get around nicely, with a trot into/out of the rings, and no worries on time. I’m also hoping that it’s not pouring down rain when I’m scheduled to ride at 11. But even if it does, we’re eventers now, so we’ll go rain or shine!