We’re in a quiet bit of a show lull now, which is a nice thing. The weather’s great, my weekends are a bit freer, and I’m saving money on gas and entries. Plus it gives me six weeks of no horse showing to get back to missing it again, rather than being grumpy about waking up at 6AM on a Sunday for the 3rd week in a row.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not working hard, though. Holly’s set some courses for lessons that really challenge us, to get us tuned up for MHSA Regionals and MAEF in November. The plan is to be jumping big, difficult courses, so that moderately sized difficult courses are no big deal til that rolls around. Plus I’m out of town for a week and a half at the end of this month, so I’m going to have Holly give her a few rides over the same courses that she’s using for Gittings prep for one of our juniors. I mean, I’d probably be doing those courses myself if I were there, but with the pro giving her a perfect ride every time, hopefully it will instill some perfection that will shine through even with me in the irons.
Last week one of the lines from the show that had been a steady 4 was modified into a grid line, either 1 to 3 or 3 to 1 depending on which way we came through, as combinations are one of my weaknesses. I have a feeling we’ll be jumping a lot of these this month, to get me thinking forward through them.
It’s also a nice thing that we can keep low, and low impact for the horse, and still get good results from. Along those lines, we warmed up to jump with a one stride of poles on the ground, making a figure 8 and swapping leads. It helped get Cally thinking, and by the time we did it twice, she already had it down and it was feeling good.
We’re also doing a lot of work on bending lines, adjusting our striding and planning our track. I’m getting better, slowly.
I really liked this exercise, because again we could keep it low and simple, and really just work on pace and step and track. I know that Cally can jump, it’s all the little finesse things that we need to work on, and we’re slowly but steadily getting those pieces together.
This week we really worked on putting together the forward and finesse with some bigger fences and more interesting bending lines.
That rollback looks like it should be tough, just because it was kind of an odd track, but it actually rode great, which I think it a testament to how we’re coming along. And that bending line is exactly the type of line that’s caused us problems in the past with locking on to where exactly we’re going. But we nailed it (even if the 6 got a little tight, like it did here) every time through.
The lines were riding easy and she was jumping great by the end of the lesson. And you could tell she was having fun with it, rather than the kind of grumpy feeling I was getting during our flat warmup, where she seemed to be thinking “not another leg yield!” Plus I’m doing a better job of seeing where we’re going–I feel like my eye for a distance is so, so improved and when my brain is on and thinking, can usually make it work for us. We’re slowly getting to the point where that “make it work” is the default for the brain, rather than the “ack, what are we doing?!” I’d often default to if things weren’t perfect.
I’m so happy with where we are now. The ulcer treatment and addition of alfalfa has really gotten her back up to the weight we’d like her to be at, and she’s going so so well right now. Hopefully that means we’re peaking at the right time!