Since our move-up show, where I could feel that Cally definitely needed a little more assertive ride that I was used to giving her to fences, I’ve made a concerted effort to ask in our two lessons with Carol to do a few bigger fences and work on confidence boosting. We’ve had success with that–including good work through a two-stride yesterday–but the biggest realization I’m having is that I need to change my ride a bit.
Over smaller things, I’ve actually struggled a big with Cally pulling me past my distance, and wanting to rush the last few strides to the fence, to the point of working on half-halting in my approach. That’s been what’s kept us at 2’6 for so long, worrying about her rideability. At 2’6, she’s athletic enough that whatever stupid happens, she can handle, but I wasn’t so sure about that at bigger heights.
Except the opposite has happened. She’s gotten much more rideable lately, and extremely rideable to the fences. To the point that I’m realizing that rather than worrying about half-halting, I need to think about putting my leg on those last few steps to the base. When I do that, we get to the perfect spot and a gorgeous jump every time. But when I don’t, we tend to get crooked, stalled out, and awkward. It’s certainly a different feeling for me, and one I’m really having to work on. To the point of considering switching back to the plain full-cheek French link for our next jumping lesson and seeing what happens.
It is telling me, though, that she’s really happy with her job, because she’s content to just lope around to the fences, ho-hum all the live-long-day. It’s not a big deal, and it’s not the dreaded boring flat ring in which we make circles. She feels happy and like a horse that’s loving her job, now that her silly human has figured out that what she likes is fences she actually has to jump. This is leading me to reconsider our plans for the year a bit, even throwing into doubt whether I want to pursuing the USDF All-Breeds qualifying, which is significantly more expensive that just getting our PVDA qualifying scores for the year. But then I think that we’re only two shows away from that, and while it’s maybe not either of our first loves, good solid flatwork is important, and it’s Training for goodness sakes, something I feel like is important for any horse, Eventer, Hunter, whatever, to have down well.
So we’ll see how our next big outing in the Adults goes this weekend, and sort of play it by ear from there. I’ve got a bit of a break planned after that, until mid-July, and then decisions to make about whether to fill our August with Dressage or Hunter shows. Though the fact that the Dressage shows will let me show in a polo shirt is certainly a point in their favor….