The weekend finished up as well as it started. My trainer Julie had gone to a clinic with Pam Goodrich for the weekend. I couldn’t go on Saturday because I was teaching, but Sunday morning I went up bright and early to catch her daughter’s ride first and then her ride. Both of them were awesome! Her daughter’s pony won the cute award, then dazzled the audience by displaying correct work that rivalled any of the adults on fancy warmbloods. Julie’s ride was a lot of fun to watch too. Her horse Aristotle was turned out in new cream leg wraps and a matching pad that went perfectly with his chocolaty colored liver chestnut coat. They worked on their canter half passes and flying changes. It’s really neat to see him progressing under her careful training, and it is great getting to hear Pam’s feedback on the rides. Pam not only has the knowledge and experience to know just what each horse and rider pair needs, but also a fabulous way of being able to communicate concepts and set up exercises to show the rider how to make things happen. When I rode in a clinic with her in September, I was blown away by how much I learned and how much my riding changed in those two hours.
Liam and I have continued to work on the same things as we strengthen him little by little for the work. The canter-trot transitions are getting much smoother and easier. Pam said at the clinic that every movement you want to ride must be in the movement before. Julie tells us the same thing at home, and for a while it’s been easy to ride the “trot that has a canter in it”. But only now are we starting to find the canter that has a trot in it. It’s kind of a funny concept at first, but when I tell myself while I’m riding “Does this canter stride have a trot transition in it? ” with each stride, it makes me hold the canter together in a more organized way, half halting and rebalancing him and making sure that with each stride he is tuned into me and listening to my aids so that at any point I could say “Trot NOW!” and he could easily step into the trot instead of falling apart or running through the transition. We are also starting to practice big-canter, little-canter like we do at the trot, asking him to collect himself for a few strides then letting him canter on again. This is a lot of work for both of us!! But it is going to make him more adjustable and is the basic step he needs to prepare for more complicated work later on.