It was super windy today, but cooler and beautiful. If you could ignore the hoardes of tiny but ferocious mosquitoes who somehow defied aerodynamics and managed to still fly in the gale force winds.
I’ve been trying to ride through parts of Fourth level test 1 to see how Fling handles it. So far, so good. There is plenty of room for improvement, but it’s not completely out of the question that she could be ready to show this level in a few months. The working canter pirouettes on the short diagonal were better than I thought they would be. The medium trot , with six to seven strides of collected trot over X was not ‘pretty’ but will get better. As soon as Fling understands ‘the program’ it will get better on its own. Fling is a go go go go horse, but as soon as she figures out that when we do this, there will collected work in the middle, she will listen to me better and do it. In some respects, for her, learning a new test isn’t always just about the work being ‘good enough.’ She needs to learn the ‘choreography’ as well. In most instances, she does not anticipate or try to do things earlier. For as smart as she is, that is unusual. The only movement that elicits definite anticipation for her are the flying changes – but even those – once she learne she MUST wait – she does. A fair amount of training Fling is just a matter of convincing her to WAIT FOR ME. 😉
She was exceptionally good today, tho. Really on my seat in most of the canter work – I always thought about the hardest thing about the upper levels was cantering down the center line and coming to a halt! So we’ve been working on that too. We are following Marie’s prescription for a million and one canter/walk transitions. I am also doing turn on the haunches (or walk pirouette) and then ask for canter, and go straight into a canter piro. That helps Fling understand that the walk piro and the canter piro are essentially the same – just at different gaits.
It was one of those days when I just wanted to get off and wrap my arms around her neck and hug her and I felt so lucky and blessed to have such a generous, fabulous, fun, smart dance partner. She got many peppermints today – but not nearly as many as she deserved!