Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday schooling

I'm back in the saddle post-surgery! Today we worked on some shoulder-in to haunches-in, counter canter, and a little bit of walk-canter at the end. We got a really good walk-canter to the left! Canter-walk is still a work in progress.

I heard a rumor that there will be another schooling show at the nearby barn sometime in March. This time Clair and I will be there!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Two blues and a red for R and Dakota!

Dakota was wonderfully well-behaved and cooperative at his very first dressage show (R's first dressage show, too)!

The show was held at the barn just around the corner -- about a seven-minute-walk across a field away. R walked Dakota over in hand, and I loaded up the tack and drove it over. Dakota actually boarded at this barn for a few days when he first arrived in Texas. I didn't really expect him to be silly since he knew the barn and arena, but the weather went from 85 yesterday to low 60s and very windy today, and you just never know. He walked over like a gentleman. R arrived with him right when they had a break, so she was able to walk him in the arena for ten minutes. He called to every vaguely bay-looking horse to see if it was Clair, but he was by no means frantic about it. He just missed his Clair. Then we had a bit of a wait until R's first ride. Dakota was very patient--he is just so sensible.

Intro A went very well. Dakota was a little fussy with his head, which is a thing he has been doing a bit more as R has been asking for more prompt canter departs. Dakota has started anticipating canter--a completely normal stage. He wants to show off this new thing he knows! It was still a very respectable test; he was quiet and obedient. We were all thrilled with his debut: 65% and blue ribbon!

Intro B was beautiful. R rode Dakota a little more forward, and it was just so fluid and pretty. 68.75% and blue ribbon!

Intro C has canter, and Dakota is not super confirmed just yet. Right lead went fine, but left lead didn't happen. The trot work was once again superb! 62% and red ribbon! By the next show, the canter will be there, and I'm sure R and Dakota will start training level. I'm so proud of them!

I had my gallbladder out on Wednesday and was told no riding for two weeks. I'll probably give it ten days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Suzanne May clinic, day 2: R on Dakota

Dakota's canter has gone from wild and woolly and pretty strung out, to much more put together! R gets all the credit for putting the canter in. I'm not sure if Dakota had ever cantered under saddle before I got him. I made a few attempts to canter but never got more than a messy stride or two. R has brought him along so far that she's going to show Intro 3 this weekend, which has a little canter. She practiced last night and it went great! Doesn't Dakota look adorable in this clinic clip?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Suzanne May clinic, day two: me and Holly on Clair

Clair was much more elevated on day two without the need for constant reminding. My position was better too! I mastered getting her past her spooky spots, and then Holly took her for a spin. Highlights include walk pirouettes and some really nice left half pass. I need to work on right bend, right bend, right bend. The mare has been faking me out to the right.

I'm having my gall bladder out Wednesday, and even though I probably could ride in the schooling show on Sunday, I've decided not to. R is going to show Dakota; she hasn't competed in dressage before, so I'll go and be her groom/test reader. If Dakota goes the way he has been going at home, they'll do well!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Clair and I make lots of progress, too!

Day one of the Suzanne May clinic, my main focus was getting Clair to carry herself higher in front, and breaking a bad habit I've developed of jamming my feet too far home into the stirrups, so my heels can't flex down. I also added a new tool to my toolkit -- how to ride by something "spooky" without letting the horse look at the object and swing her haunches way out. Once I got the hang of it, I really had Clair's number and she gave up the ghost (pun intended).

More video to come of Clair on day two, with both me and trainer Holly on board. Holly got lovely half passes to the left!

There's a schooling show at the barn right around the corner on February 21. R is pretty sure she's going to show Dakota, and I would love to show Clair. The only wrinkle: I'm having my gallbladder out on February 17. I think I can probably do it, but I'll just have to wait and see. I was on a horse two days after having my appendix out, so I'm optimistic!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dakota and R strut their stuff during day one of the Suzanne May clinic

Just look at the progress made by these two! Suzanne exclaimed over and over again what a great student R is. She really listens and has enough control over her body to fix things without having her overall balance change. Dakota looked so happy, and boy is he cute when he comes onto the aids. I'll post more video of them from Day 2 in a couple days, when R really gets him put together in canter. They are progressing at lightning speed!