I almost don’t want to talk about how awesome my horse is been, for fear of her losing all her hair or impaling herself or something. But oh, has she been fantastic!
We got out into the big front field on Saturday morning, and basically did some hills and quasi-trot sets. Mostly just working on building up Cally’s butt but in the most fun and relaxed way possible. We found this huge round swingy trot that felt amazing, and I need to figure out how to find that all the time, because it was the best thing ever. Then she’d get distracted by something, or couldn’t quite figure out how to balance in that down the hill, and we’d be back to finding it again. But she felt nice and relaxed, and so loose and swingy when we were done. This is definitely going on the agenda as an at least once a week part of our work, both for mental health and for fitness.
Because then she was really ready to work for our lesson this week. It was really hot, so we kept warmup pretty easy–just a bit of balancing and leg yield each direction at all gaits to get her loosened up in the back, and then working on our rhythm in a circle over a groundpole. I’m never going to be perfect at finding a distance, but I feel like I’m getting so much better at actually seeing our distance and just waiting for it, rather that sort of clambering up the neck and hoping. Cally had felt pretty sleepy through most of this–she’d practically fallen asleep in the crossties while I was tacking her up–but woke up the minute we trotted over two groundpoles to an X. Easy peasy, and suddenly a bit brighter and awake. Holly put the X up to a much steeper one, and we came around again, and she just jumped the snot out of it, and we felt pretty ready to go after that, and came on around to a plank that I actually saw a good distance to and nailed. Ha! Totally feeling more confident in my ride.
Since it was hot, we did a few little pieces like that, with walk breaks in between, a bending line to a long approach, walk a bit and have some water and catch our breaths, then a rollback to a bending line. Cally was feeling great, and only once felt a little to go-ey, when we came back down the bending towards the barn in what felt like it could easily have been a 4 rather than a 5. Wheee (oops). But after another walk break, it was time to put everything together into a course.
To make it more fun, we started down in the big bottom ring. As you can see from our videos, it has a bit of a slope to it, so it’s not ideal for complicated courses like get set in the top ring, but it does do a good job of making you balance and ride to the fences. And Cally is getting better about not being confused at being asked to canter on up out of the bottom ring and into the top ring.
I did get called out by Holly for ducking a bit over the last fence. I’m not even sure what I was doing with that. But overall I was really happy with it, and it felt like a great note to end the lesson on, because we were both hot and tired by then. And feeling very ready for this weekend’s show!
Pre-lesson, I had a little chat with Holly about upcoming show plans. This weekend we’re doing an all-TB show, in two 2’9 divisions since I haven’t actually shown the horse over a course since the itty bitty jumpers at BEST in like March. Not sure what I’m going next week–there is a schooling show I was thinking about, but I also really want to go see Julie and Sophie go in the sidesaddle at Upperville, so I may just to cheerlead. Then we’re entered for sidesaddle at Loudoun and then doing Training at Ride For Life, which will be our first licensed dressage show in a sidesaddle, so that should be exciting.
But the even bigger news is that we’re heading to HITS this summer! I never ever thought I’d be doing one of the big circuit shows, but with a little budgeting I think we can make it happen twice! In July we’re just going to haul down for a day and do the Adult Limit Eq, which runs all on one day, so that will save us the big $$ for a stall and hotel. Then the tentative plan is in August to go down for a long weekend and do the real Adult Eq division and a couple of Medals. That will probably be most of our showing for the summer, other than a venture over to WBTA in July. But I’d rather show less and do something bigger, which ought to be an amazing experience for us.