Our warm up was good. I included several free walks, and really focused on straightness and stretching but with good energy.
Our first run through of the test was mixed. I was sure to not use vocal cues, and to keep on going with the test even when we had issues (we broke to canter twice). The first half of the test was decent (with a good free walk - yay!) but as soon as we changed rein to track right (Hemie's harder side) I got some resistance and the trot work was tense. I realize that asking him to connect to the left rein through such a brief medium walk right before trotting is problematic. I need to try using right/inside rein only, try bending more or bending less, try focusing on shoulder straightness, or perhaps try a mini shoulder in for that corner.
|Random photo of my horse being a creeper.|
I did the second half of the test 2 more times and got some improved work. I didn't want to drill him and make us both tense and even worse, so we worked on other things then did a nice long cool out.
Inspired by Andrea's (The Reeling) recent post, I decided to give Hemie a longe/bit-up on Wednesday instead of a ride to work on bending issues. Alas, it was dark before I got to the barn, and Hemie was ultra spooktastic. But he settled down to work after a few minutes of bug-eye-ness and was surprisingly willing, straight, with good impulsion and stretching his back up and neck down. We ended up not using either of Andrea's 2 tips, but I'm keeping them in the back pocket for future reference. Of course, I wasn't able to capture any of the greatness on my phone, but here's some dark and blurry photos anyway.
Thursday's lesson was very productive. Hemie was not in the mood for dressage, which made for a good challenge. We had lots of opportunity to work on our recurring issue of popping right shoulder/counter-bending to the left/not connecting to left rein/faux spooking. The solution was circles. Millions of circles. And going slow, and leg yields, and tons and tons of transitions. It worked beautifully.
Saturday's jump lesson was fun. Laurie thinks we should move up to Novice next year, so she's been making jump questions more exciting. Hemie loves it. I'm going with the flow, but to be honest I don't think I'll move up to Novice until I have better scores at BN (or unless Laurie comes up with a really compelling reason). Anyways, on to the jumps!
The two 1-stride line again, but at novice height.
Then I had just a few strides to turn through a steep angled line, with sharp right turn. This remained a ground pole, but was challenging enough as is!
Then to the red box, this time with pole on top.
Then left to the logs into the water, up the middle bank, then down the steepest bank! Hemie was a rockstar, meanwhile I was thinking "Jesus, take the reins!" Down banks are intimidating to me.
After the lesson I rode Henry for Laurie. He's an OTTB but very night-and-day different from Hemie.
Then I practiced again with the truck and trailer. I drove it to a local public equestrian center, with beautiful trails and public arenas. No horse inside, though, as I was driving solo and didn't think that would be wise. Soon, though...
Sunday I hopped on bareback to cruise around while others got a lesson. He loves being a couch sometimes. I love it too.