I REALLY wanted to brag on my Tiki man! Rode him Monday (in the almost rain, aren't y'all proud??) in the dressage bridle, cc saddle, and my ghetto drawreins (as an aside, I REALLY need to take a pic of him in his ghetto draw reins, lol!). Didn't use the new dressage saddle because it was super cold, and I didn't feel like switching out stirrups. I finally have stirrups and leathers now; will use them tomorrow! He was LOVELY in the drawreins. I stayed super light with them, and used my leg. I had spurs and the whip, and he felt nice and forward. Transitions were clean, circles felt beautifully balanced, and the trot never once felt quick or choppy. Ran through the dressage test for the first time since the horsetrial, and it wasn't bad. STILL, our weakest point is actually the WALK. He HATES to walk on contact. When he's on the buckle, he overtracks to the point that he kicks his front shoes with the hind legs. The SECOND I pick up the reins, he sucks back to the point that he's barely moving. As soon as I apply leg, he wants to jig off. We've been working on it ... but it's still a work in progress. The drawreins helped the boy to keep his topline round through the upward and downward transitions; that's our other weak point. He can keep his shape as long as he's in a constant gait, but through the transition, he wants to hollow his body. Ended GREAT.
Tuesday, it was 20 degrees warmer, but it RAINED all day long. It rained and stormed so much, I not only didn't go to Joyce's, I even cancelled my lessons at Patchwork. I RARELY do that. Today, it was colder than Monday. When I headed out to ride, it was 34 degrees, brrr! I had on plenty of layers, pulled Tiki out to groom him, and did the "blanket groom", in which I only brush the parts not covered by his blanket! Used my fleecy boots and polos in the interest of keeping the tendons warm. Used a navajo blanket AND a quarter sheet! It was COLD:) Decided to do a "stadium" hack, using techniques I'd watched the great George Morris do at a recent clinic. I watched him on a video. Obviously, I'm not even CLOSE to the caliber of GM, but I CAN imitate his training techniques;)
JUST as I was walking into the ring, my phone rang. I answered because it was a friend of mine. The phonecall had the unintended consequence of me hopping on and walking ... for significantly longer than I usually do. I could FEEL the switch in him; at first, he's locked up and short strided. Then, as if by magic, those shoulders free up, his back warms up, and his head drops down as he moves into his ground eating walk. It was awesome:) Started with a walk on contact; circles, figure 8's, shoulder-in, and leg yielding. I spent about 20 minutes total at the walk. Moved into a trot, and did the same sort of thing; circles, concentrating on that outside rein contact, soft arms, shoulders tall, legs still. Lots of walk/trot/walk/trot transitions, concentrating on riding the back end. Leg yield at the trot. Ran through the test One More Time. This time, not too bad other than a late trot/canter transition (hadn't cantered at all yet), and I over used my leg in the free walk, and he trotted a step or 2. Even though I will ride in my new dressage saddle for the first time tomorrow, I will not run through the test again. I will focus on those all important trot/canter transitions, and walking on contact.
Cantered on a big circle, and hit a pole. It felt SO nice, I continued cantering and hit it again ... and again. Felt so good, decided to just keep on ... cantered the cabinet ... then the coop, then the pole, then the cabinet, then the coop, then cirled. Came around to the "liverpool" oxer, popped off several lead changes. I just kept going. Everything was around 2', I sat lightly with a slightly forward shoulder, and focused on a COMPLETELY following hand in the air. It was Super Splendiferous. Felt GREAT:)
Found out there's only 6 in my division, so unless I get myself eliminated, I'm guaranteed a ribbon!:) I'm really looking forward to Saturday; hoping to get video from all three phases this time! Tomorrow I will school for about 20 minutes or so in the dressage tack, and Friday I will trot some hills. Then Saturday, it's showtime! Dressage ride time is 8:44. We should all be done around 1:30. Will report back!:)