I was very grateful the rains stayed away today. I had a lesson this a.m. and really did not want to haul and tack up in the rain.
My ‘homework’ for the past month has to work on getting her canter more collected. To do that, I had to sit quieter and not ‘pump’ her with my seat, insist she accept my half halts and carry herself more, and get stronger in the right hind. I’ve also been working on her canter and trot half passes and her turns on the haunches. _I_ think all the work is better than it was last month, but always know that what I _think_ I feel is not always what’s really going on. 😉
I know that her flying changes need to get much more reliable, quieter and straighter. But all of that has to come from a better quality canter first. Plus, I fully expect flying changes are something we will be working on from here on out – so I’m not too concerned with them being super good at this point. Even for showing third level, the flying changes are only two scores out of 23-25 scores. They do have a double coefficient in 3/1 but not in 3/3.
My main concern and goal right now is to improve her canter – with more self-carriage, more collection and more ‘jump.’ If I can do that, the flying changes will get better on their own.
So today she was very fussy in the warm up and I did not do a good enough job of being the ‘disciplinarian’ and insisting that she listen to my half halts and carry herself – right out of the box. Fling has a very good work ethic, but even the best horses don’t do dressage on their own. 😉 As a result, the quality of her work was not up to par. Finally about 1/3 of the way through I ‘sat her down’ and got her listening to my half halts and everything improved. We ran through some of the test movements – mainly the canter half pass and trot half passes. I was very pleased when Marie told me they were very good, and much improved. I know that is a ‘work in progress’ and I am quite happy with steady improvement, even if it is slow.
I rode Faeryn in the field today and she was much improved from yesterday. I still have a bit of trouble figuring out the left lead canter, but tomorrow I should get help with that. Her trot feels super – very ‘fancy’, correct and energized.
Tomorrow I am riding both Fling and Faeryn in a Debbie Bowman clinic. Unfortunately the weather forecast is not so hot. I may end up hauling my horses to the clinic venue already-saddled in the trailer! When I was a kid and on a mounted drill team, we always saddled our horses before loading them to go to our practices.