As much as I bitch and moan about the weather, Rio has been amazing all summer. We have been consistently hacking and lessoning and he is at his fittest ever I think. After a particularly good lesson the other week I was discussing our progress with my BFF Liana. While talking, I kind of realized that we have made leaps and bounds of progress in the past year, and I hadn’t really realized it. (P.s. All these amazing pics are taken by Liana).
The things that used to feel hard in our lessons now feel almost natural (i.e. trot jumps, fitting the strides in lines, being comfortable with closer distances etc.) My ‘bad’ jumps now aren’t really bad in the way I used to classify as bad, they are just slightly off stride or slightly crooked or whatever. More often then not these day I can easily handle whatever course my trainer throws at us with no issue. If we do make a mistake it something I can laugh at and fix it on the next attempt.
The lead changes are coming along too. I don’t always practice them, but when I do ask for one on course the are happening successfully 95% of the time. I still RARELY school them when hacking though. I think they are ‘harder’ when just flatting because I am not as good at recognizing a good canter (balanced yet still with impulsion) . I will feel like the canter is good but it’s actually just slow and then I won’t get the change, or won’t get it behind. It’s easier to get the change when we are rolling along on course and have more pace. I felt really good about our canter last night though, and I asked for one just to see. Rio was perfect! No rushing, no drama. He was a stride late behind, so it wasn’t perfect by dressage standards, but I am very very proud of him. See the video!
His canter is so much more adjustable now too. We can jump into a line and Rio holds the same canter now, allowing us to easily jump the out without the need for a dramatic re-balance. It actually catches me a bit off guard sometimes when I realize we are coming to the out and have more ground to cover then I normally expect! A nice problem to have for sure though, as it’s very easy for me to soften and cluck to the out.
At the end of the day we aren’t perfect, but we sure are having a ton of fun. I used to be the one in group lessons that always struggled with the courses, or would have the most “issues”. Now though, I find that we tend to sail through the exercises with little to no drama, and it feels so good! Just shows me how much Rio and I have progressed in the past year, that what used to feel difficult now feels almost easy. Really has me looking forward to the fall show season. I have 3-4 shows on my schedule as of now, and I can’t wait to get back into the ring!
This is boring video of us casually flatting the other night for anyone interested: