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I was beginning to worry that the rain would never end.  Especially after I spent my Sunday volunteering at the PVDA Spring Show at Morven while bundled in by Dublin River Boots, a sweater, and my Barbour and was still shivvering and having to hide in my car while doing afternoon warmup stewarding duties.  I felt even worse for the horses/riders showing, because seriously, the warmup was a pond with a moat around it.

But everyone got through the show, I got my volunteer hours done for PVDA, and I had a really fun ride to the airport when I dropped one of the judges off at Dulles on the way home. She asked a bit about what riding I did, and I mentioned sidesaddle, and she told me the best story! Apparently she used to run Dressage At Devon, and in the late 70s, Mike Plumb’s then-wife did dressage, and rode aside. So she planned a 2nd level Pas De Deux aside, with Mr. Olympic Eventer as the other partner in the Pas De Deux! So apparently there was a 2nd level sidesaddle Pas De Deux at Devon, featuring both a lady and a gentleman aside. Brilliant!

And that fantastic news was apparently the inspiration for the weather to clear up and me to be able to get my wonderous sidesaddle rock star out and going again this week. Though not aside, yet. Monday it was beautiful, and the horses have moved to night turnout, so I was able to get on and go hack around in the field while I was out in the afternoon. Cally was so happy to be out, and it felt so good to be riding out in the sunshine.

Then Wednesday we had a really fantastic lesson. The footing was great, Cally was happy to stretch her legs and get working, and I was actually riding pretty well. We started off with just a bit of flatwork, since she’s been stuck on the flat a lot lately with the rain and imperfect footing, and warmed up on a circle over one fence, with me working on not picking a terrible distance. My eye is getting so much better, and while the spot isn’t always 100%, it’s at least something I see and reasonably adequate. Then we moved down to the big bottom ring, and started putting some things together. Cally was so happy to be out in that open ring, with room to roll a bit between fences and actually getting to jump bigger things again.

It really does feel so good to be on a horse that *gets* her job, and is loving the work she’s being asked to do.

I mean, I really needed to either leg up and get a big 6 or half halt more and get a better 7 in that bending line, but it just felt so so easy, and it was a failure to pilot on my part–she’d have done either, though I think with her opening up for the 6 is probably always going to be the better choice. Not only is it easier, she jumps better from a slightly gappier spot.

Once we were solid around the outside, we added in a rollback to a little cavaletti and up into the main jumping ring, which was a bit confusing to her. She kept wanting to turn to either side and tossing in a lead change and being wiggly up the hill, but she went and made it feel easy in spite of herself.

I still need to work on not being afraid to put leg on and allow that forward to a good gappy spot, because she’ll nail it every time from there and she’s really not going to go anywhere but where I want her to. She’s having as much fun with it as I am, and it’s a really great feeling.

Now that summer appears to have arrived, things are shaping up for a really fun June. I think we’ll be heading to a TB show next weekend, possibly up to the little schooling series by my parents the weekend after that, and then our two big early summer shows, sidesaddle at Loudoun where she may go over fences with Julie if they get along together aside over fences this weekend, and Ride For Life, where we’ll be making our licensed dressage debut aside. Very excited about those last two, and can’t wait to see how things shape up from there for the rest of the year! I think at our mid-year check-in on goals, we’ll be outpacing where I’d hoped to be.

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