Loving the cooler weather – and a peek at the new dressage tests

Despite working 5 hours at the condo on Saturday and another 5 on Sunday I did get to ride! And, the condo is FINISHED, DONE, COMPLETE, tools are packed up and removed and the place is ready for tenant move-in!! Just in time for the wonderful cool front!!

I had a chance to look at the new 2011 dressage tests that were FINALLY published on the USEF website. I think Third level is a bit harder than it was. In Third 2, you have to do two sets of flying changes instead of one. Looks like Third 2 is what Third 3 used to be, with the addition of the second flying changes. Third 3, which used to require flying change from the half pass to the wall, with change at the wall, now has half pass from rail to center line and changes ON the center line. Ouch.   And I find it really odd that Third 2 requires two sets of flying changes – and not Third 3. Wanna guess which test is going to be least ridden at this level? LOL!

And so, since I’d looked at the tests, and Fling’s gotten a few ‘light’ workouts, we had a longer session yesterday afternoon and I asked some tougher questions. Did some schooling pirouettes, which are pretty good to the right, but, like in half pass, she is still leaning on my left leg when going to the left. I tried to remember what Stephen Clarke said in a clinic I watched – collect BEFORE the pirouette, and go FORWARD during the pirouette. It’s good advice. I estimate we’re still doing about a 6m ‘circle’ in our pirouette, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

So, I cantered some straight lines, asked for haunches in, then out during canter just to keep her listening, and then tried a half pass to center line and then flying change on center line. No problem getting the change. As expected, it’s not straight enough, and the half pass left something to be desired. Her trot half pass, esp to the right, is getting pretty good. The canter half passes, not so much yet. But I was happy to see I COULD get a change on center line – just not as good as I’d have liked. But it’s a start.  I actually asked for changes in several different spots yesterday and got them all. It was a good ride.

So then I had about 30 minutes left to ride Faeryn. I decided instead of ‘drilling,’ I’d work on fitness. So I rode her all over the field (the mosquities were out!) and finally put her on the mown ‘track’ around  part of the fenceline that I’d done earlier in the day (didn’t have time to mow the entire 12 acres!0 and the mosquitoes were not quite as bad, and I also had a ‘gauge’ to estimate how much distance we’d done. We trotted first, and then I cantered her along the “L” that I’d mowed around the fenceline. I estimate it was about 1,000 feet, and we did it twice at canter. Then I trotted her the whole way in and she was not even breathing hard. The cooler/drier temps made a big difference!  Her canter felt good, and more balanced. I alternated between right and left canter leads. I am trying to set up a jumping lesson on her for Oct. 9. That should be interesting. I just hope she doesn’t try to take off like a bat out of h*ll over them when she sees them like she did at her Mare Performance Test! LOL!


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