These last 2 weeks have been super, duper busy. Both weekend days since Mia's show have been stuffed full of stuff that doesn't involve riding my own horse and week nights have not been much better. The only option? Getting up and riding at 615a. Very unfun to ride your horse AS the sun is coming up, and riding alone, since it is the only option for one to actually be able to ride. But as a result TWH has been ridden 5 days a week since Mia's show and I think we are ready for our show on Sunday!
Our first few rides back worked only on transitions. The month (plus?) that TWH didn't have me riding him as I got Mia ready did no favors with his non-gaited-ness. His trot was fine but his walk/trot transition was sluggish and had several sluggish steps before he picked up the trot. His canter was fine but his canter/trot transition had several pacing steps in there. His trot/walk transition was loose and sloppy, yeah we had a lot to fine tune. Thankfully a few rides tightened his responses right back up and he is doing quite well. He still isn't as snappy into the trot from a relaxed walk as I would like, I have to really get his attention before I can get a good, clean trot transition, but it should be more than sufficient. His canter/trot transition is back to where it needs to be as well has his trot/walk transition. Something that seems to have helped is to significantly increase the tempo, getting more speed is working for him so that is what I am going to ask for. Yay us! Tonight I am riding dressage again and am going to actually attempt the test, something I haven't yet done as I have been working on the individual pieces instead.
Jumping is going very well! We had a couple of small jump schools outside where I worked more on me than him. I really, really want to stop jumping ahead/being left behind and I really, really want to stop the practice of grabbing the reins over the fence. I NEED to fix myself and if H isn't doing it in my lessons, well damn it I am going to figure it out somehow. And I need pictures to prove it, but OMG I think I may have fixed it??? When cantering up to a jump, one should look at the jump until you can't see it between the ears and then look at your next fence. That is all fine and dandy except my brain refuses to do that. I have a tendency to look at the jump AT. ALL. TIMES. Because, you know, it might disappear. I tried not looking at the jump at all, whatsoever, and guess what happened? I started jumping better. Doh.
I jumped inside this week thanks to the 5+ inches of rain we got, everything is nice and saturated which makes for iffy footing when you are riding in a pasture. On the plus side, however, some improvements to my arena worked and my arena had so minimal flooding that I would consider it a non-issue. YAY!!!!!!!!! On Tuesday I set up 2 jumps and threw a tarp over each so they appeared to be solid jumps and started off at 2'3", TWH didn't care. 2'6", TWH didn't care. 2'9", TWH didn't care. Finally at 3' TWH sank behind my leg as we came up to the jump but I gave a good kick and TWH touched it. Good Boy! It was very apparent during that schooling that NOT looking at the jump whatsoever is really working for me, even at the 3' jump it felt like TWH was giving me an extended canter stride instead of trying like hell to get over. This AM I jumped again, this time with an oxer and a vertical. The vertical started at 2'3" before jumping straight up to 3' (jumping the 2'6" oxer in between) and while TWH knocked the pole down the first time over 3', he then cleared each of the subsequent 4 times. He feels SO much better with my not looking at the jump, apparently I have been the problem all along! I am really, really looking forward to pictures of our stadium course. If not looking at the jump will fix the problems at home, can we actually pull in a stadium round that looks decent?!?!?!
We are now up to par on conditioning, I feel confident we can do our course. We are up to 5 minutes of cantering/two point and I will be adding the 6th minute tomorrow morning. I have been doing conditioning on our (dirt) road this week thanks to the rain and it is actually working out quite well for us. It doesn't have the hills that I want to have like my pasture does but it does have a decent surface to go on with definite markers so I can tell how far I have gone. One more minute and we are show ready! I don't know if I will have pictures of our show on Sunday as SO isn't planning on coming and RB4 hates to take pictures but hopefully we will get some from the official photographer if not. Updates to come after our show!