I was going to do this all as one post, and then it got long. So two posts it is!
Some of you may know this about me already, but perhaps some of you do not: I am a very competitive person. With myself, and with others. I am like this in most all aspects of my life. Though in theory I realize that lessons are for taking a step back and working on things, I tend to struggle with slowing things down and not riding in competition mode all the time. Turns out Val has a similar personality. We had a lesson on Tuesday, and since we hadn’t done courses really since our fall four weeks ago, he was a little silly. We were doing short but tricky courses to help keep his brain engaged, which sort of helped, until he figured out the game, and got too excited about the turns. Then we had to practice making bigger, loopier turns. It was a decent lesson, and we practiced keeping our brain while doing tricky courses, but I definitely had a goal for the weekend.
Slightly Less Silly Pony:
We had a really good flat Thursday in which I asked him to really use himself. His trot work is generally pretty great at this point, and he carries himself most of the time. His canter is where we struggle more, especially on course. We worked really hard on pushing from behind and not being tense or upside down. Overall it was a very productive ride; I was able to ask him to move up and come back without getting inverted or losing contact, and we got some really great trot work in as well. We always do some lateral work each ride, but for his brain’s sake, I tend to alternate between rides in which we work on adjustability and rides where we really work on the lateral work. This was more of an adjustability type of ride. Sometimes it takes one to get the other of course, but I find that often we have a better ride when I really focus on one or two things I want to improve. His work ethic has been really good lately, and Thursday was no exception. He tried his best to do everything I asked, and I didn’t ride as long as I expected because he was so good.
I volunteered to ride a friend’s horse this weekend while she was in Kentucky to watch Derby Finals, so Friday I was supposed to ride her boy and Val. However Val was so good Thursday, and I got to the barn late, so I only flatted Rockie.
Rockie, by the way, is one of my favorite horses to ride because he’s such a good boy, and is a typical hunter in his manner and way of going. I enjoy the jumpers, but my heart is in the hunters, so riding Rockie is always fun. He was a gem as usual, even though I forgot my spurs. I took some cookies out to Val while Rockie hung out in his ice boots and we had a few minutes of quality time in his pasture.
I finished off a lovely evening at the barn with drinks and queso with Lauren and called it a (great) day. More on Saturday later!