So be prepared for lots of media. It wasn’t a busy weekend but I got lots of photos. I was also able to mess around with the GIF function on my phone camera and got some good snippets. Friday I didn’t ride, but Saturday I packed up the pony with her new half pad and her breastcollar to get prepared to have some fun over the poles.
She’s starting to look really good, too. She’s gotten more trim (although the picture from her right side she looks fat so…..lol) even just through the week.
The last week of dressage has really helped her. When we starting cantering on Saturday, I could tell the work had really helped the quality of her canter. She felt like she had more suspension in her canter and she was even more adjustable than she had been before. She still seems excited to get out and ready to work.
But thankfully it was very cloudy Saturday, so we didn’t have to worry about the sun beating down on us. We’d had an impromptu bit of rain in the night, so it left the ring nicely wet and the air cool. Amber wasn’t even fazed with the cooler weather, and she was absolutely on it when I asked her canter. Then I went into two point, and it took her a little bit, but when she realized we would be doing pole work, I could feel her ears prick up and she got a bit of a jump in her step.
We had some super pole work, and it helped that the both of us have gotten stronger. I could also feel a nice spring in her canter, and we got the distances most of the time. I’m not too worried about whether or not we get the striding right because I want her to figure out, and so far she’s been spectacular about being smart with her feet. But of course it helps to start familiarizing myself with distances (which, while I count strides, I need a lot of help with).
But she was really super. I didn’t worry about lead changes on Saturday and only switched directions a little bit. By the end though I could tell she was getting tired because she was really starting to plateau and flatten out as we were going around the arena in between jumps. So I just worked on letting her slow down and collecting her for a few strides and ending on that note.
Sunday I decided to stick with a second day of pole work. She was definitely thinking forward when we started to canter, even though I didn’t wear spurs. I’d bought some new spurs with a round knob to use instead of the Prince of Wales spurs I had. The round knob is less abrasive than the Prince and Wales, and though she works fine without spurs, they’re just there as a reminder that she needs to respond to my leg. Unfortunately they didn’t arrive Sunday, so I couldn’t use them, but she was actually quite good without the spurs.
I had just a little work to get her thinking a little slower, a little more suspension in her canter, but ultimately didn’t push it too hard. I could tell she was a little tired – her canter was a little less fluid and adjustable and she felt a little flatter, which is why I think we missed a few of the distances. But I absolutely loved watching the video playback that my mom took for me. Despite her being tired, she had those little ears up, eager to see where we were going and what pole we’d hit next.
I think we’re definitely improving. Despite her feeling a little more tired Sunday, I could absolutely notice the difference in her canter from even two weeks ago when my mom took pictures last time. We’ve definitely gotten strong together, and for the most part it really showed.
She had a few nailed lead changes but I left them alone for the most part. I was focusing more on where we were going and how our approaches were, which we didn’t do so well on Sunday. I was really biffing distances – just couldn’t quite seem to put it together and even count the darn strides. I think that mixed with her slightly flat canter was why we ended up having a go-over like this one:
Which, I really like that she wants to take responsibility for her feet, and she’s starting to make decisions about where her feet should go. I also kind of like that she got pissed off she missed it. She’s funny about that sometimes. And I actually don’t mind it. I like that she gets upset when she thinks she didn’t do something right. She’s just a quirky one. At least I didn’t fall off, she didn’t fall on her face, and we were okay. We just need a bit more oomph if we’re going to go for a long spot lol. But we also had some great ones like this:
Despite that long shot attempt and fail, I feel like the poles aren’t much more than blips on her radar now. Before she was a bit unsure about them, and Sunday she was giving me some good lift over a few as well as just a solid feeling over most of them. She pays attention to her feet, places them well, and is now focusing more on what I am asking her to do with her canter. Which is great, but I think perhaps I may raise the poles a bit. Not high or anything she can’t do yet, but I think she’s having fun with this, and it feels a little easy now.
We’ll also start messing around with a little more dressage and perhaps some cavaletti work that Ingrid Klimke outlines in one of her books I’ve bought. I plan to rearrange the poles so that we’re not making the same tracks but doing a different “course”. We’ll go back to doing some dressage during the week, hopefully finishing one of the Master Dressage videos and trying out the basics.
But she was a superstar Sunday too. Although honestly, I have to admit that any day she tries she’s a superstar to me, because she could easily give me a huge resounding no, but she doesn’t. She wants to have fun with me and I always have fun with her.
I also bought a new girth for her. It should be coming next week sometime but the fleece Smartpak girth just feels a little slippery at times. She’s also already on 5 and 5 and it’s a 30″ and perhaps getting a liiiiiiiiittle stretched, but we’ll see how this leather one does. It’s a 28 which will give me a bit more room as well as prepare when she continues to lose her food baby.
All in all, it was a great weekend. She was awesome, we’re getting stronger, and will be doing a few of the same things for a while yet, but we’ve got time. What about you guys? How was your weekend?