|Hills in the ghetto draw reins!|
Holy Moly, the beginning of the week was COLD! And WINDY:( Ugh, GA weather really stinks sometimes. Thurs and Fri were half way decent though, so I rode my boy! Thursday was a nice dressage day. I was trying to build on what LR has been doing with him, and get him to rock back on his hind end, really track up behind, and get that back to come up. I got him moving forward off my leg first, tracking straight, then put him on the 20m circle to get him bending and listening to my leg. I decided to simply stay on the circle, and do trot to one or two steps of walk, then right back up to trot. Worked on keeping contact, not throwing him away, and getting him right up to tempo immediately as opposed to picking up the trot slow then getting up to speed. This is the exercise we did with Paul. He was GREAT! Very responsive. I tried to keep him lifted through the wither, and deep in the contact. It was a little stiff at first, but I could feel him finally begin to lift up and get comfortable.
Reversed through a toth, making sure to keep him moving forward through it, then picked up the canter, focusing on not allowing him to take ANY quick, short trot steps. I had to do the w/c transition a couple of times before I was satisfied, but he did try really hard, so I allowed him to keep cantering. Did c/one or 2 steps of w, then back to canter. At first, I did throw him away a little bit, but I mentally kicked my own tail and made myself slow my body and keep a feel. It worked, and I got a LOVELY transition. Allowed him to keep cantering, then actually gave him a walk break because he was SO good. Repeated the other way, and let him stop once I got another stellar transition. So, simple work, but focusing on correct basics and correct shape so he continues to build muscle in the RIGHT places.
Yesterday, I put on the draw reins and walked hills. I made his little red butt march both up and down, and going downhill, he tried to bulge that left shoulder like he does at the jumps. I focused on keeping him absolutely straight nose to tail, and worked my own self hard to keep him motoring forward. That didn't make him extremely happy, but he was obedient. In the flat upper part, I w/t/c a few laps, loving the beautiful shape of his neck that the draw reins produce with virtually no effort. I rode the snot out of his hind end, feeling him reach up underneath me. Sometimes in the pasture he gets quick and shuffly, so I worked on going big and forward, reaching into the contact. He did GREAT, and I gave him a long rein to be finished.
I plan to go xc schooling at Chatt Hills in April. I'm actually thinking of saving a little money and doing the May Chatt Hills event instead of May-Daze. My friend can't go with me if I go training, and it's just too expensive to cover gas and hotel by myself. If I do CH, I can just come home each night. Just something I'm chewing on!