Rio and I had a lesson filled weekend to prep for our upcoming show this week. He had a light Thursday and Friday due to his little colic scare, but we hit the ground running on Saturday. Our lesson Saturday with Trainer Stacie was a private, which allowed us to really focus on my position and how it effects Rio. My “go-to” position is a 2 point. A stiff 2 point where I tend to automatically focus more on perfect equitation then actually feeling what my horse is giving me and being soft and elastic. Of course, at the show I am going to be more nervous which will translate to even more stiffness, so I don’t expect to have that whole relaxed thing down by the show, but hopefully it will be a little better.
Sunday’s lesson was a DOOZY. There was a group of 3 of us, and 10 minutes into our warm-up the skies opened and it started to down pour. We all took the horses into the barn to wait out the rain. 15 minutes of pretty intense rain and it was finished with the sun trying to come back out. We got back on and headed to the ring, which was now covered in standing water. Oh boy. Rio has never been ridden in literal standing water everywhere.
And this is the sight that welcomed us as we re-emerged:
Thankfully the footing at our barn is terrific and it was completely safe to ride and jump on, so we were able to continue with the lesson. Rio was a tiny bit extra prancey in the wet footing, but otherwise went around normally. I actually think it might have helped, because we got ALL of our lead changes! I was so proud of him! Grant it, he was still a stride late behind on some of them, but each stride late is usually only a single point deduction, so at the moment that is probably the least of our worries in the grand scheme of things.
We continued the same theme of me sitting more in the tack and actually trying to feel what Rio was giving me. It worked well, until we got to a jump. I cannot see distance for the life of me. I am way more used to a light half seat, and then maybe sinking down in the saddle if I see shorter spot. Sitting from the get go totally changes things for me for some reason, and I was on the struggle bus when it came to distances.
Trainer kept reiterating that it is about the quality of the canter and NOT about seeing the spot, and that I cannot pick the distance every time because that will 100% lead to missing at some point. We are in this for the long game, so this change is essential to getting better in the long haul. The jumps did end up smoothing out, and even the closer/longer distances felt smoother by the end. Lots of work left to do still, but I think I am starting to get a feel for what the ride CAN be in the future.
Rio heads to the show on Tuesday, and I will be there on Thursday to watch Trainer Julie show him before I start my classes Friday. Can’t wait to get back in the show ring with this amazing dude!
HUGE thanks to Liana for all the amazing media. This is what she went through to get it, and I couldn’t be more thankful. More pics and lots of video for tomorrow’s post!