It was so hot today. I really didn't want to subject Tiki to the heat at all, but I haven't ridden since ... Saturday. Didn't have time Monday, slept in Tuesday, so that left today. Wore my 12 year old tall boots for the first time in ... 12 years! I wore them ONE time back when I participated in my Instructor's Certification Clinic, then never again. I had a kid, gained weight ... let's just say they no longer fit. Well, when I decided to do this show I pulled them out and actually got the right one (my smaller leg) on with JUST a pair of pantyhose and NO pants. Yes, it was funny looking:) This was before zippers were the cool thing, so my boots were just, uh, boots. Took them to a local shoe repair and had elastic put in in the back. The cobbler had never done tall boots before, but did a good job. Unfortunately, after getting off Reley (my 2nd horse), the right boot's stitches had busted where he put in the elastic, so I need to take them back and get them fixed. Anyway, they were ok. I like my Ariat paddocks and half chaps better, of course;)
Anyway, this post is supposed to be about Tiki, not me, right?! He was a superstar. Trotted out well, cantered right away to loosen up, went back to trot and he felt good. Worked on the shallow serpentines again, and could feel them doing their magic, loosening up his muscles and getting a nice bend in his body. Didn't have a single lead issue today; my goal for the day had been to work on landing the leads after a single jump. Yeah ... so much for goals! I had a 3' vertical set up on it's usual side, and set up a 2 stride on the opposite side with a tall crossrail to what I THOUGHT was a 2'6 vertical. Had the cavelletti oxer set on one diagonal, and a single cav. set on the center line of the ring. Plan was to canter in to the single in the center of the ring, and ask for a certain lead. Well, the problem is there are STILL piles of footing on the ends of the ring, which makes doing anything up the middle a PROBLEM. So, we had a nice jumper turn in, then about 4 strides to get to the cav., then about 3 strides before having to turn. Yeah, there was no landing anything. So, instead, I popped off about 6 auto changes. If we landed left, I turned right, if we landed right, I turned left, etc. He changed promptly, cleanly, and by himself. Wow, color me surprised! We have issues when I try to ask for them across the diagonal, but he'll do them on a tight turn. Began cantering into the oxer. He was a little strong today ... there is no rhyme or reason for why he gets that way, but there it is. He does some days. Was PERFECT in the 2 stride ... had it set as usual on the horseshow stride, and it was actually SHORT. Rode into the 3' and it was picture perfect. Made me a little course of the cav bending to the cav oxer to the 2 stride to the 3' vert. After landing off the 2 stride, he was trucking a little bit, and didn't get a change since we were making a big sweeping turn. Did a simple, then continued to the big jump ... perfect. Walked, caught our breath, then did it again. By this time he was in his usual "worked hard" state and was literally dripping sweat. Coming into the 3', he was too strong, too flat, and got in long, so I waited for the add and he knocked it down in front. No problem. Went back and trotted the 2 cavs, then cantered in one more time to the 2 stride and he was good so I quit.
After I rode Reley and put the freshly bathed Tiki back in his stall, I found a tape measure and went back up to the ring because the heights were BUGGING me, lol. The holes on the standards were different, and I was totally guestimating that the top of one was 4'6, and the other was 4'9. Wasn't sure though. Measured the 3' and it was indeed. Measured the 2'6 and it was actually 2'9, yay! It's nice that a 2'9 jump, which has so recently instilled fear in my heart, is now not a big deal. I can jump it alone, I can jump it in a combo, or I could do it as an oxer. My horse rocks my world ... I could not have found a more perfect one if I'd tried 4 dozen of them. As an aside, the picture at the top of the post is the BEST I've ever seen him look at the trot, yay! This was taken today, by my 7 year old son.:)