First of all, the most exciting news of all... cross country schooling is opening this weekend! I'm so excited, I cannot wait. Usually it's so wet that it doesn't open until the beginning of June if we're lucky, but this is almost a whole month early! This means that next week we will be going to school probably Monday or Wednesday. Cannot wait to get out there for a good gallop. We really need to work on building confidence over cross country jumps this spring. Last year after Jetta dumped me over a Novice coop we both lost a lot of confidence. Jetta has made huge leaps and bounds (haha, see what I did there?) with regards to show jumping, but we don't get that many chances to go do cross country.
(imagine a cute photo here of Jetta doing her first xc school - blogger is being dumb and won't let me add pictures)
I'm only planning on doing two shows this month - a jumper show on the 12th that I may or may not actually go to (the whole saving money issue...) and an endurance ride on the 25th! I'm so, so excited for the endurance ride. I still have a lot of prep I need to do beforehand but I can't wait :)
I had a great, productive ride on Jetta today. This is the kind of ride we need to have every ride if we want to be getting any improvements! Here's what we worked on:
- Shoulder-in at the trot. I've been lazy and haven't paid much attention to our lateral movements in recent weeks, so we need to work on that since doing shoulder-in helps engage the hind end. Something we really need! She's much better to the right than the left, so we need to smooth that out and make sure she can maintain a soft bend to the inside without tossing her head, keep our tempo up and forward, and our angle consistent.
- Canter spirals. We've actually been doing this most rides since it helps Jetta improve her balance and her canter, plus at the same time it doesn't make her angry, lol. We go from a 20m circle, down to about a 15m to a 10m circle, then back out to a 20m circle.
- Counter cantering. Definitely need to work on this because I haven't really touched it, but it too will help improve her quality of canter. Unfortunately at this point this is the exercise that makes her angry. We're talking head tossing, tail twitching, rushing, angry. But we schooled canter loops a few times today until they improved the the point that Jetta wasn't just running through my aids.
- Transitions within gaits. This is to help her sit more on her haunches and not just rush when I ask for lengthenings. She was so good for this today! We did it both at the trot and canter and she was just superb. She came back to me softly when I asked and didn't get hyped up. I do think I need to carry a dressage whip for the collected trot work just to get her hind end stepping under. I've just kind of stopped using it recently, finding that Jetta is behaving just fine without it.
But in other happy news, Dusty's back! He's the cute little Missouri Fox Trotter/Arab gelding that I'm in love with. I'm not typically an Arab fan or a gaited horse person, but I love him. I guess his owner has regretted selling him ever since she dropped him off at his new home, so the lady she sold him to offered to sell him back. I should get a picture of him soon. He's a chocolate palomino and in the winter (only time I've seen him) he's a light palomino with a little bit of smuttiness around his muzzle and on his legs but right now he's a full blown CHOCOLATE. I've never seen one get so dark, he almost looks like a liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. Still want him, lol.
I finished up my barn time with a bareback ride on Queenie. She is so slippery that every time I ride her bareback I think about how bad of an idea it is and think that I'm going to fall... But she was quite well behaved today even with the arena door open (which she hates) and the BO had the farrier out so he was tapping away on shoes and sharpening his tools loudly. Queenie was a little worried about it at first but she settled down and was super good.