I totally had a "brain booboo" and forgot that tomorrow I'm volunteering at the AEC's! Which means Muffin once again only has a '2 day' week, riding wise. Yesterday was a dressage school and he was quite lovely. I've been warming up by walking over the medium cavalettis before trotting. As he trotted, I focused on some long and low stuff vs. up in a tight frame. After feeling his overall tightness last week, I wanted some supple. He felt SO nice. I threw in some t/w/t/w transitions, and he didn't hollow his back out at all. I made sure to keep my hands up, floating, and forearms soft. I always try to have a plan before I ride, but I end up doing exercises to help out whatever I FEEL, whether I've made a plan or not. I spent a good bit of time trotting serpentines across the ring, focusing on the bend and keeping him long and low ... at the short ends of the ring, I cantered an 8m circle, trying to keep that feeling of softness and lightness. A few halts, a change of lead on the long side, counter canter, then flying change ... on BOTH leads. Success!
Today I rode in the evening with honorary little sis. As I groomed him, he was shaking that head like crazy, so I braided his forelock and slapped on the goofy green ear net. Again I put on the snaffle and regular cavesson, and up we went. For being with another horse, he was pretty good! Didn't do the pissy head shake once, which is a first when he's with another horse. I didn't ask very much of him; I'd had to down 800mg of ibuprofen just to manage to even ride, so my expectations were pretty low, really. Before hopping on, I raised one of the 2'6 verticals to 3'3. Yep. Go me! The footing was really nice tonight, and shade was creeping in, so it wasn't too bad riding at all!
After cantering a few times over the low cavalettis, I trotted into a 'tall' cav, circled around and trotted the coop, then came across a diagonal and cantered the 2'6 vert. Pretty much perfect! Kept a perfect rhythm, kept my hands up, and he jumped like a gentleman. In the corners, I tried to "stand him up" and bend in really well, and he fought a little bit, but was ok. Nicole jumped the Spark Plug over a few (he was HAPPY!), then I trotted the coop/cantered the 2'6 vert again, and he felt quite lovely again. After Nicole did a few more, I did coop to outside x-rail one stride to 3' vert, inside 2'6, outside 3'3. He was nice and forward to the one stride, jumped the 3' super, easy and soft over the 2'6, then came up perfectly to the 3'3, but just got in a hair too deep. I could feel him jump UP over it, but it didn't feel bad. Rested, then did the course ONE more time. Again, all were pretty much perfect, but this time he got in just right to the 3'3, but in the last stride ran past the distance, pulling it down hard with his hind end. Nicole reset it for us, then pulled it with the FRONT because again he came in too deep. I tried taking a slightly different track, jumped WAY off to the right, and too deep but it stayed up, then tried once more. I allowed him to have more canter this time, and he I nailed the spot, but AGAIN, he dragged me past it to jump deep, but he didn't touch it so I let him quit. He really was quite tired; I haven't jumped much since May as you all know.
I got off, loosened the girth, and measured the jump before I lowered it for Sparky. Um, it was 3'6, NOT 3'3. Lol. I thought that sucker looked big when I set it, but tried to just ignore it and go with the flow. I'm so proud; that is the FIRST time I've ever jumped him 3'6 without a gymnastic to set him up for it. Go me! I'm not such a chicken any more! Probably explains partially why Muffin scooted past the distance a little; it's BIG for him! A rolled out groundpole probably would have helped, but he was just tired, so I will save that for another day. Next week, I WILL ride him 3 days! He is such an awesome horse, I'm a VERY lucky girl:)