We are talking waking up at 4 am driving 2 hours and volunteering all day for 3 days straight. Well I did get to sleep in on Sunday since I stayed overnight. But dang was Saturday a scorcher. But more on the 3 day later. I wanted to post about my ride last night. I was tired but it was such nice evening and after getting to watch all these horse and riders all weekend I wanted some time with my guy. I have not felt like we were making great progress as of late. It seemed that somewhere along the way this spring we have gone a few steps back. I cannot pinpoint where it was. We have been fairly consistent in working. Maybe a week or two off added together but nothing drastic. I have really stuggled to get him as forward as I am used to and that brought him and I an entirely new challange. I have found it is MUCH easier for me to get him to work correctly when he is forward or even too forward. But when there is lack of forward is harder for me. We have been working through it and things are getting better but I haven't had a ride in a long time that when I was done I was pleased with the roundness, being on the bit or bending in a long time. That brings us to yesterday.
After warming up I started asking him to find the bit. He was lacking forward a little so I asked for a canter and that usually gets him moving forward better after even a short time at the canter. After that he really stated to feel for the bit then I was relentlessly asking him to be round. He not only was responding well but just felt great. He became so round that I could feel him raise me up through his back. I know he has rounded his back before but this was by far the biggest difference I have ever felt. At first I was like WTH is that and then I was like ohhhhh I know what that is....gooooood booooy! With him working so nicely and really responding I decided to push the envelope a bit and go for a leg yield. We have done them before but it has been a while and I have always had to have strong aides to get him to do it. Yesterday it was so cool. I barely had to use my aides and he knew what I was asking for, as soon as I tightened up the outside rein and put on my inside leg he just started doing it. It felt so cool. So much so that I said hey maybe we should try another lateral movement. I have to admit I don't know that I was doing it correctly or even what it is called. I think it could be a shoulder in or something. Maybe you can tell me. Bent him slightly to the inside, slid my inside leg back slightly and gave pressure to let him know I wanted him to keep his haunches on the rail yet move his shoulders to the inside. And we have 5 or so strides with his shoulders in and haunches on the rail. Right or not he did exactly what I asked him to do. We did this just me and him no trainer or even knowledge in dressage and I am proud of it. I mean I guess there is a good chance I am just screwing him up for the real thing but hey at least he listens as I am screwing him up and we were both enjoying ourselves. I think he really has a knack for the whole dressage thing.
BUT the boy LOVES to jump. You know your horse loves jumping when you are trotting in a half acre field on a loose rein and he heads straight for the only 2 jumps that are set up. LOVE IT! So I just let him jump. We were trotting along and he caught sight of one of the jumps and perked his ears up and honed in on it. He even went for the big side of the log. Then the other jump was at a 45 degree turn and 40 feet away and he turned straight toward it locked on to it and popped over. Oh man he is a horse after my own heart. The jumps are only about 2 feet but that really needs to change I can tell he just wants bigger and so do I. I need to find some stuff to make into jumps. I have a feeling that him and I could be close to novice by the end of this season if we were in any sort of hurry. But I am in no hurry and don't really care to be at this point so we will go no higher than beginner novice this year at schooling shows. Next year probably hang at beginner novice and maybe do the IEA event and/or Greater Dayton. I am in no hurry and just plan to be safe and have fun!!! I am sooooo stoked for what we will get to do at event camp and to work with these awesome trainers!!