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Following the very excellent performance at the Waredaca starter horse trials, we had a pretty light week, with just a bit of flatwork and a couple of fences.  The following week started off light, too, due to a missing shoe that got replaced on Tuesday, so I scheduled a Friday lesson.  The goal of the lesson was to get her slightly more supple than a 2×4 going to the left.  Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be really difficult.

We started on a circle, asking for shoulder-fore, then progressed to asking for a few steps of leg yield.  We then progressed to asking for what we did some work on over the winter, counterbend on the circle.  We then moved on to the same exercises at the trot.  The transition from walk to trot wasn’t great, so Carol busted out one of my least favorite exercises, the crop behind the elbows trick, to keep me from bringing my arms forward and dropping contact in the upward transitions.    It does keep my arms back and my chest open, but man, it hurts the inside of my elbows!  We then began spiraling in and leg yielding back out, then asking for the canter.  We ended up having some really lovely canter work, eventually proceeding to walk-canter work, after I cantered her around enough, pushing her forward, that she wasn’t dragging her front end or trying to pull herself along by popping out her right shoulder.  We had much better right lead transitions when I asked for a step or two of leg yield into the transition to get her off that shoulder, so that’s definitely a great tool, even for shows, to get a much nicer transition.

Then Saturday, I spent the day volunteering at PVDA’s Ride For Life, which is a dressage show/breast cancer benefit.  I was a warmup ring steward, which I figured would be fairly similar to XC warmup steward, which I’ve done quite a bit at events.  It has its similarities, but was complicated by there being multiple rings worth of people there, and I could only see one show ring, so being able to tell people where we were and how many rides back they were was occasionally a bit difficult.  It’s also tougher than sending people out XC, because the order thing is much stricter–with XC, you can just send rider 9 in front of rider 8 if they’re ready, but not so with dressage.  There was a pretty good variety of people in my warmup throughout the day, from PSG/Intermediare riders to First Level.  It was quite educational to watch, both from a learning what I liked to see, and how people warmed their horses up.  There was a lot more work at the walk and trot, and not so much at the canter, which is interesting and something I’m going to take with me, because that’s really the sort of warmup that works well for Cally.  I’m also pleasantly surprised at how not-intimidating First Level looked; I don’t think we’ll be ready for it next year, but it certainly looks doable, as does doing a recognized dressage show at Training.  I think I’d really like to try to shoot for riding at Ride For Life next year as one of our goals.

Short-term on the goals agenda, I’m back to the old familiar XC warmup steward at MDHT the first weekend in July, which I always enjoy.  And I just did my entry for the next PVDA show, July 20 at Blue Horse; that will be a busy equine weekend, because Southwind’s next CT is the 21st, but I think we can handle two BN dressage tests one day, followed by a BN CT the next, when the CT is at home.

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