Today was our final lesson with Carol before our big show on Saturday, and I wanted to run through our tests with her and get any last minute pointers.  We will have a lesson with Kelley on Friday, but I really want to just jump her around then, and not have Cally thinking about circles at all, because she’s getting a little sick of them, and coming into Saturday fresh off a jumps school should help her mindset.

In an effort to help my position a little, and use something a little classier to level out the saddle than the small folded hand towel we’d been putting behind it, I hunted, searched, rooted, dug, and finally found my Cashel wedge pad, up on top of my locker under my shipping boots.  I put that on today, and about halfway through my ride, I realized that it was a mistake.  Yes, it did raise the back of the saddle more, and put me in a good position, but it altered the fit of the saddle in the front, where it fit like a glove, to the point that she was stick and unwilling to go freely forward.  However, it took half the ride, and me noticing it popping out the back, to realize what might be the problem.

I could tell as we were warming up that she wasn’t thrilled to be making more circles, especially since we’d popped over a few fences and then went out for a walk yesterday.  But we did a little bit of lateral work at the walk, then went to our nice spiralling trot circle, which seemed to do the trick pretty well.  But she just wasn’t moving forward as nicely or as with any relaxation.  In retrospect, wedge pad!  But we got a few nice trot/canter transitions, and went to work on our tests.

Other than pretty much not having a stretchy trot, Training 1 went pretty well.  Giraffey, tense, and not particularly happy, but decent transitions.  Carol had us working on our accuracy, and really not asking for that canter transition until we’re back onto the quarter line of the circle.  It’s actually where we should be asking for it, and it has the added bonus of hiding any hollowness a bit from the judge, since we’ll be turning away.  We also worked on our centerline, and shooting a bit to the left of it, since she wants to drift right naturally, so we’ll end up where we need to be.  We also worked on our free walk, and just letting her swing, with me doing nothing to her, because when I try to get that bit of stretch from her, she wants to wag her head, so we’re better off just letting her track up on her own.

Training 2 was pretty much the same, the free walking V shape rode really nicely, and gives us a chance to show how well she moves off seat and leg.  Stretchy trot still a disaster, but when I finished the run through and pulled the wedge pad out before we started trying to work on parts of this, there was a noticeable improvement in that.  We actually got a bit of stretch, rather than “attempted runaway trot.”  I actually like where the canter transitions are in this test much better, as we’re moving into a corner that sets us up nicely.  It actually feels like there’s less canter in this test, though, which is a shame, since she can have a a very nice canter.

So no wedge pad for us, just a clean white hand towel folded in thirds, enough to raise the cantle just a bit.  I cleaned my sweaty tack after my lesson, since I’ll be riding in jumping gear on Friday.  The coat went to the cleaners today, and should be back Thursday.  And now that I’ve finished this post, Daisy A. Dog and I are going to walk down to the truck with the clean saddle pad and fly scrim, so that they’re already loaded up and ready to go, because for whatever reason, I seem unable to remember to pack the scrim, and I’ll want it on Saturday to keep her clean and bug free.