It’s been two weeks since our show, and Val and I have been taking a bit of a vacation thanks to weather and my work schedule, and just needing a little down time. But this weekend, we really buckled down again with some heavy lifting in our flat work and some pretty tight bounce work. Saturday I had to go into work for a few hours, but after I headed to the barn and we put in a really good flat ride with much more canter work than usual.
Since the quality of our canter is what often messes us up on course, I’ve decided we need to put in more time at the canter so that going correctly is automatic for Val. I also realized I really need to work to get Val right between my hand and leg without fish tailing all over.
There were some lengthenings and shortenings, along with some squares, and serpentines across the arena with very square turns. This really required Val to rock back onto his hind end and bring his shoulders up and around. The squares were hard and ugly at first, but we did them over and over until they were consistently good. It definitely wasn’t easy for him, but he was a good sport about the exercises anyway.
Sunday, our lesson wasn’t until almost 1, so I squeezed in a bonus ride who was very fun and gave so many snuggles and cuddles. Consider my heart melted.
It was a very different ride from what I’m used to, but fun anyway and so good for my strength and feel to get in all the extra rides possible.
We hadn’t jumped since the horse show, so rather than doing course work, we opted for a grid. The Winkler again to be exact–bounce, one stride to oxer, one stride to bounce. Bounces should be vertical, and a ground line each side of each jump so that you can roll them in to make the already short distances shorter.
In the past we’ve trotted into this exercise, but it actually calls for cantering in, so that’s what we did. This was so hard, because I tend to want to open up the last few strides to a jump, especially a grid, but this exercise really needs a more packaged canter and a close-ish spot in. Gosh dang that was hard (but good) for me. Waiting for the jump to meet us took a lifetime every time through.
Even still, I managed to hit the in pretty nicely every time. I held and waited a little too long once, but Val fixed it through the first bounce no problem and cruised right on through without issue.
Starting out, Val really wanted to pop his left shoulder out and bulge to the outside, but a little bit of outside rein fixed that right quick, and really we had no other issues. I was pretty happy with how he worked through the grid with little assistance from me, which meant I could focus much more on myself and what I was doing.
Even though it freaked me out a little, cantering in did really make the first jump so much easier. I’m a trot jump failure. Womp womp.
Once I finally wrapped up our lesson and took Val out to his pasture, we stopped to say hi to his old room mates. They seemed super happy to see him again, until he went full stud mode and and tried to strike at them through the fence. And this buddy, is why you don’t get to live with them anymore. Too much play time.
To cap off a great weekend, J and I actually had a date night at the theatre. We stopped at a new to us wine bar (which was so good and so fun and we’ll definitely be back), and then saw the final show of Newsies on its North American tour. Newsies was super fantastic, with great music and amazing dancing. The one bummer was that instead of a live orchestra they were playing a recorded version of all the instrumental work.
I had a bonus horse last week and I’ve got a few extras this week as well, so even though my legs are dying a little right now, I’m really excited for more saddle time in the next few weeks. After the hard work we did this weekend though, Val definitely gets the day off since I’m sure his booty is a little sore and tired.