With a little over 1.5 weeks before Mia's first REAL SHOW, I need to get my butt into gear. Of course, that says nothing about the fact that TWH's next show is in a month and we haven't jumped since our last show. I am such a bad horse owner.
I have been riding Mia in draw reins attached to the saddle d rings to help her be a little more consistent in contact and it seems to be working quite well! She is MUCH better at the start of our rides and the canter has stopped becoming her throwing her head as high in the air as possible and is more about carrying herself almost properly. Yay! I am not a big gadget fan but I do know there is a place for gadgets and am not afraid to use them for the short time frames they may help. Hopefully within a month I can stop riding in the draw reins and have the contact I have been working on getting since February!
Last weekend I rode without the draw reins so I could evaluate her progress and it is quite impressive. Her temperament was much better than it can be, she picked up the contact at the walk right away and didn't fuss about it. Win! I was undecided on if we should ride Intro C/Training 1 at our show or Intro B/Intro C so I figured I might as well work on stretchy work. Mia already has a "head down" rein command and the trick is to continue that command until she can place her head in the desired position and then keep asking whenever she moves her head from the position. We started at a walk and it didn't take her too long before she realized what I wanted but her consistency isn't there. After riding the majority of the ride with her head down, I gathered her back up and compressed nicely and didn't fight at all. Yay!
I rode the Intro B, Intro C and Training 1 tests to see what I liked best and I am 100% sold on riding Intro B and Intro C. For her very first show, I want an enjoyable experience that won't happen if I am pushing to introduce new things a week before the show. Her free walk needs more work in getting consistency and her canter departure to the left needs more work as she isn't as quick as I would prefer. She needs to go straight (or even straight-ish) down the centerline and stop drifting through the halt. To add stretchy trots and quick transitions into the mix would set her up for failure.
I have ridden Intro B and C several times now and am fairly comfortable with them, I think we will finish and the show won't be a disaster. If I can get her polished a little more I think she will be spectacular and I am excited to see how she behaves! The show is August 3rd, so I have a little more than a week to get her going. She has come so far, can I get her up to par to be a true, blue show horse?