The show is this weekend! In a way, I’m really excited – I’d love to win a buckle with this girl for performance, and it’s something that’s been a hopeful goal of mine as a “someday” achievement. And in another way, I’m really excited because with this show over that means dressage lessons, JUMP lessons, and getting into gear for eventing. I think both Amber and I are getting a little confused and frustrated – there’s just not enough time in between shows (it would be easier tho if I were doing QH HUS English instead of Dressage English).
But, it is getting down to the wire. Originally, I’d been oscillating back and forth between practicing more western or not, but after looking at points, it’s a tight race between me and someone else for that buckle. So, time to pull out all the stops we can! (haha sort of literally. Unintended pun lol) So that means one more class, and we’re really going to be practicing these patterns. Western it is for this next week! But, I’m crossing my fingers it won’t be too confusing. We’ve made a few breakthroughs on my position, and it really helps her canter get sooooo nice. She still likes to let her sternum drop on that right side, but we’re making progress.
I couldn’t ride Friday, but the wind was horrid on Saturday. She was just fine though, and it was our first ride after jumping so she was pumped. I’d set the poles differently, and since it was poles she thought we were jumping. What a girl for trying, and she felt a little disappointed they were merely poles. But she settled rather quickly upon realizing my different leg position as well as body position (hopefully) and we had a good ride. No breakthroughs, but just building, so some of it was good and other parts not so much. Still, it was a good ride, and we ended on a good note.
Sunday was almost as breezy as Saturday and not pleasant (for me; she was like “whatevs I’m happy to be out” lol) and I had planned one more dressage day to ensure a “coming down” from jumping. She settled right in really well, and we did that for a bit before working on a few aspects of some of the patterns. I’m the most nervous about doing trail, because I tried to stay up and supportive and she was like “OH POLES ARE WE JUMPING” and I had to really take a hold of her at times. It wasn’t pretty, but we figured out a few things that worked, and it gave us info for heading into western this week. That trail course is going to be TIGHT so it’ll just be a matter of being able to do it okay…. I’m taking the eventer philosophy on this one that it doesn’t need to be pretty – you just need to be able to get it done. I’ll need to enter trail if I potentially want to get a really good chance for that buckle so uh…..I swear if she jumps over those poles at the canter in the trail class I’m just going to be laughing like I did yesterday. She did a very nice leap over one of them at one point and came back nice and soft so….can’t be too bad right?
It’s going to be tough with this show transitioning disciplines, but I think if I keep as much as I can the same we’ll be on target – even if that means I have to take a tighter hold on her face though the judges like a more draped rein. We just need to be as correct as we can because while we might not get “the prettiest pattern” award, we’ll do it as correctly as we can. That’s got to at least not knock us points, right?
It’s such a weird dynamic. She’s really starting to feel like a dressage horse (as much as I think a dressage horse feels like since I’ve only ever ridden one) but we’ve been having some really great trot work. She’s been on the vertical more, and sometimes it feels like she’s trotting out from under me but it feels so powerful and like wow! at times. Definitely to the left she’s feeling more comfortable and her left lead is feeling much more elastic than before. I’ve been fixing my defensiveness when she drops that shoulder, and it’s making it so much easier not only for me to ask her to put it back in the center but for her to actually do it. Her right lead is still very much in the works, but it’s getting there. We’ve been working on stopping from the trot, canter to trot transitions, and while we don’t get it all the time, it’s getting there for sure. I have a feeling her western will feel awesome with all this dressage work. I never was able to teach her how to really stop correctly before we discovered what had happened with her hocks, so all she knows are the developing stages before I was able to solidify stopping through her back. Right now she’ll stop from her butt but her sternum will drop, her head will go up and she’ll hollow, and working on dressage halts has been very beneficial because keeping that contact is encouraging her to push herself through. I know I keep saying it, but I love theory and a well-rounded horse, so mixing all this stuff together is fascinating for me.
So, we’ll be practicing the patterns this week, or at least all the parts of it so that she’s not memorizing the patterns! Lol Cause she would. But, once the show is over, the western saddle will get packed in its saddle bag, put in the house and then it’s full steam ahead to eventing!