I feel like it’s about time for me to explain myself for my less than frequent posts of late. I’m in my final five weeks of my undergraduate degree which is proving to be busy with exams, assignments and classes. Work has also picked up as the weather heats up and so I’ve been working more shifts, studying more and (unfortunately!) riding less! I have, however, still been going for a lesson once a week and squeezing in another ride here and there whenever I can. My lessons have been much more focused on really pushing P to the next level and getting him to work from behind like never before. To do this we’ve been doing a lot of shoulder-in. On the right rein we can get it pretty well, but the left rein is very difficult. The thing with P is that you have to really push him- it’s not as simple as just asking him. You have to convince him that you’re not going to back down. He is a lazy horse and will take advantage if you back down. On my left rein my leg is much weaker and he knows this, and so he just shuts down and won’t listen. It’s difficult because I can’t physically push the aid more and more because I’m too weak. I need to make him listen to me, but at the same time I don’t want to punish him for not responding to an aid that’s too weak to comprehend. So it’s a delicate balance between knowing when I am delivering a good aid (and so maybe a whack on the bum to wake him up is in order if he’s not listening) and when I’m giving him poor aids (and so need to fix myself). We’ve also been working on our halts and they’re getting better, especially since my trainer has been riding him and practicing them with him. Since she’s been working on it with him he’s become much more responsive to downward transitions. Now it’s my job to ensure he doesn’t go back to leaning on the bit and ‘collapsing’. A key to better downward transitions for me has been keeping my lower leg back so he is still moving in front of my leg. That way he moves underneath himself to stop.
Competing is on my mind (as always) but my thoughts are dulled by the overwhelming amount of uni work I have to get through over the next few weeks. I’m excited to finish uni for the semester so I can focus on dressage and make some serious progress over the summer. Will I compete before the end of 2013? I’m still not entirely sure. I hope so.