ups & downs

What a week, it’s hard to imagine this time last week we had a cold, wet & raining weekend!
We didn’t compete at DNSW Winter Festival, I made the decision not to compete as I felt we didn’t have enough preparation. My arena was quite wet & boggy after all the rain & things were just not going to plan when I got back in the saddle again! We were just a few rides short of ironing out our kinks in the tests. Between transitions not being sharp, dragging leg yields, and a sloppy canter I thought it was best we use this weekend & upcoming week for training in preparation for our next comp! Which we have this weekend coming! (Can’t wait!)

I’ve been trying to get a bit creative with our exercises to help me (yes help me more then Arnie!) as I have been struggling and quite possibly getting a tad lazy ! Not so long ago I discovered Amazon, in among all the amazing books & DVD’s I have purchased I found a great book called “Creative Dressage Schooling” by Julia Kohl, 55 meaningful dressage exercises. I do highly recommend ! I’ve been really struggling in our leg yielding, I’ve been hopeless at preparing for them & somehow I expect them to be perfect !

I have mixed it up a little bit (for my benefit), leg yield inside (I use the quarter line in the arena) to the outside (outside fence of the arena), leg yield outside to X, 10 m circle then shoulder-fore down center line to C (and also in reverse). I think my real struggle is the 10 m circles before the leg yielding, somehow I expect to just turn point and go across ! So for me I have to mentally prep way in advance ensure he (and myself of course) are balanced through the circle. I think after all the wet weather & all the reading it’s allowed me to digest a few issues I need help with!

Today was a great day, also from Creative Dressage Schooling we really worked on our canter transitions. On a 20 m circle more forward into a lengthen canter then back again into a collected canter, really focusing on balancing through the transition & making it a clear transition between the two. We have also been working on our walk-canter transitions, which I am really happy how we are progressing! Picking up the correct lead from walk (big pats for Arnold!), the downward transitions are coming along nicely as well! I really feel the more work we do on our transitions in the canter & our walk – canter it is helping our canter transitions for our tests (Canter – trot), much more balanced & confident.

Much more fun work to do this week in preparation for our competition coming up!
Here are a few snaps from today’s ride, can see him ‘waiting’ nicely in the canter. Very proud of our work ! I can’t wait to reflect back in a few weeks & see our progress.

Impulsion

impulsion..

Who knew after a few weeks off it would take a bit to get back into it again! Now that i have my balance back under control again! 3 weeks holiday would do that too you! I can now focus & enjoy our exercises working towards our next competition in 2 weeks time… how time flies! But I’m certain we will be ready in time. Turning this Mack truck back into a muscle car !

I know I’m not the only person out there that dreads a video or two when riding, it really makes you think on EVERYTHING that’s going on, but i think deep down we just don’t want to see our mistakes! BUT it is a very useful tool in our training!
I’m very fortunate enough to have a helping friend who filmed me on my second ride back last weekend. It really made me realise the lack of impulsion and our balance! On this day of the video we really struggled with our canter exercises, some days you have to realise that what you have planned prior to your ride might not pan out the way you want. Especially when your coming back from a break. You have to be able to feel what you are both capable of! After all its not just us rider that have bad days! SO when your not having the most fantastic cantering day… working on the trot transitions is always great!

So we regrouped, focusing on our canter, shoulder-fore & our leg yielding! Probably one of the best advise i was given that has helped me a lot at the canter, you want a clear 3 beat canter with jump. I literally say 1,2,3 out-loud. Sounds rather basic but I had this on repeat during the week! When i say 3 i want to be ready for a big 1, push and give a little kick to give that initial JUMP into the 1.
I’m always impressed with Arnie’s work ethic, he always give 110% even when things don’t go to plan. He always tries !