Friday, June 8, 2012

Morning Lesson (schooling T-3)

I'll never complain about starting off a Friday morning with a ride on one of the mare's and a hand delivered Mocha.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't complain about any morning starting out that fashion...
Resident Mini-Donk lurking in the morning drizzle...
I haven't ridden P2 in the morning in just long enough to forget how adorably sleepy and cuddly she is in the am.  Belly full of hay (but not alfalfa pellets... why is she leaving those behind??) she always seems extra content to be curried and loved on.  S met me for a quick lesson so that she can keep me on track for our two tests and harp when I start collapsing in my ribcage, tugging on that inside rein and not putting my transitions together.

P2 warmed up well, though not as soft and awesome as she was earlier in the week.  We worked a few figure-eights in an attempt to get me dialing in that outside rein and P2 limbering up. Then we moved into some sitting trot work and our ever nagging canter transitions.

Whatever magic I had earlier in the week, I lost it.  Things were terrible, but our first several transitions were met with 3 big lengthened trot strides before taking up the canter.  The good news is that P2 wasn't inverting or scooting in the process.  The bad news is that she looks like she's running into them.  Argh.

Setting the mare back on her butt and trying to get three trot/canter/trots per circle got her dialed back in and stepping nicely into her canter, but I am a little frustrated that constant up-down-up-down transitions seem to be our only tool for really getting clean, balanced canter departs.  It works just fine at home, but isn't fantastic for trying to show off a test.  Although, I'm probably not above an "excuse me, I'm just going to take an extra circle here" if I needed it :)

(I mean, that's the beauty of a schooling show, right?)

I don't think I would actually do that.  But who knows.  I am significantly less wrapped up in actually completing tests than I used to be..

Anyway.  So lots of transitions, then S started calling fake tests for us to just whip through.  I felt like I lost Prairie a bit as we started winging around the ring, but then we pulled it together, sat back a bit more and got a little more precise with what we were doing.

Essentially I just need to back my mental process up about 20 meters.  When I'm thinking just ever-so-slightly farther ahead than I normally do I get much better results and I seem to micromanage Prairie less.  Both good things.

We finished the ride with a run-through of Training Level 3 and here's what I got:

Opening Halt/Salute: Crappy halt, good immobility, good salute (yay me!)
Opening Shallow Loop: Great.  Good change in bend, good tempo
First Canter depart: a little rushed but contained
Canter circle/tour: good balance and cadence.
Trot Transition: mediocre but precise
Walk Transition:  not enough leg
Free Walk: RAD (P2's strong suit) but back to Medium Walk is hard...
Second Trot Loop: Great, good bend, good tempo
Second Canter Depart:  our best! (mostly because I was focusing on the other horse in the ring and didn't get in the mare's way)
Canter circle/tour: good, I caved in and dropped my shoulder but P2 held it together
Downward Transition: sloppy and hollow
Stretchy Trot: Awesome, good reach, decent return to working trot
Final Halt/Salute: Better halt, not square, but she stepped up eventually.

All in all, not bad.  Not smashing, but if she can do at least that on Sunday (while keep all toes in the Dressage Court), I'd be thrilled.  That's what I want.  A spook free, legal test.

Seems obtainable!

One more ride tomorrow, then Sunday I'll have time to gussy up the mare in the morning before our afternoon rides.

Full report and video next week!


  1. Good Luck!

    My horse ate alfalfa pellets for a month or so and then started refusing them. They seemed to help him put on some weight and then once that was done, he just didn't have a use for them any more, I guess!


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