Thursday, July 14, 2016
Last night was our last lesson before the clinic and show this weekend. I went into the lesson a little apprehensive, since my horse has felt broken for the past week. I felt like we didn't really have time to fix anything and I was going to go into the show with a horse that refused to canter. Although, after speaking with Saiph about the vids I posted after my last ride, I wondered if part of the issue was sore butt muscles (she could see short striding on the right hind - reminiscent of the hammie) from our very steep ride on Saturday and five hours of standing in the trailer. He was still a little stiff on Monday, but felt normal last night.
I got to the barn late, since T had received a package from Amazon for his paintball gear and we were trying to work out the logistics together. (We decided he needs a spent magazine pouch to drop the empties in, which will make his current set up more effective. Yes, there are priorities.) I gave Ashke a quick but all over grooming and tossed on his tack, leaving ourselves about fifteen minutes to get warm. I get more and more happy with the TSF girth. I clambered aboard and we started our warm up. We did several circuits of walk in both direction, some trotting with random circles to encourage his bend, and a couple of circuits of canter in both directions. He was amazingly soft and handled the canter very well. I had a momentary flicker of hope.
I had thought to ask Amanda if we could run through the test and then work on the things that needed improving, but then she suggested it. I started by riding at the trot to get him settled again. Amanda said something at that point that really resonated. She said I needed to ride like I was asking him to leg yield to the rail, even when we were on the rail. That clicked for me and our trot was better after that. Then I rode the test.
Ashke was balls to the wall, even giving me a great serpentine loop to the quarter line and back to the rail along the long side of the arena. We were late for our walk-trot transition at C, but that was totally me not getting him ready and I need to ask a hair sooner. He had a great stretchy trot, a fantastic free walk and really solid canter. We finished and I told Amanda we were done. She agreed that he looked really great.
We spent the rest of the lesson working on the stretchy trot, our turns and 10m half circles at the trot, trotting down the center line and me trying to make all of those things muscle memory at the last moment. I'm hoping that by the show in August, I won't have to think so specifically about making the turns or what to do with my hands while doing the 15m canter circle, that it will have started to become muscle memory. Amanda also talked to me about my warm up before the test, the things we should just revisit in the warm up ring, plus how to do a running braid in Ashke's hair for the show. It was a great final lesson before Saturday.
The above pic was from the road near the barn as the sun was setting. The colors were vibrant and so very real.