I’m determined. Even if the rides are fewer than usual or shorter than usual, I’m going to keep at it. Tonight when I was driving home from the barn, my car informed me that the temperature was 1 degree. Yes, that’s Fahrenheit. That’s VERY cold. Thankfully it isn’t near that cold in the barn and we do have an indoor arena, and this is supposed to be the worst day this week, so my fingers are crossed that tomorrow evening we’ll have double-digit temps and it will feel balmy! I did come home early tonight, but I’ve still had a pretty productive week so far.
It started last weekend, when my boyfriend earned some serious brownie points when he put on a few extra layers and saddled up with me. He rode Liam western and I rode Austin in my dressage saddle, which I found slightly ironic. But I see a future for Western dressage here, which appears to be his discipline of preference due to the simple fact that he’ll never wear breeches. Works for me, I’m just happy to have a riding buddy!
So, still at it, but keeping the rides short this week, and limiting the number of rides I do for my own sake (nothing is worse than getting all toasty warmed up during a ride, then chilling for the next 4 hours while I stand in frozen sand teaching lessons!). To keep with my goal of being ready to get some scores towards my bronze and hopefully maybe even my silver medal this year, I’ve been periodically running through tests to see where they are at and pick parts to work on. The other night, Natalie was hanging around and got recruited to video for me so I could see how they’re looking (ie go home and watch the video in slow motion, scrutinizing every movement and position flaw, and after a brief depression, return to the barn the following day with a determination to ride better!).
I started with 3rd level test 1, which is one I’m getting pretty comfortable with because I’ve run through it bunches of times now over the last few months on both Liam and Remy. Parts of it are tough because our arena is shorter and wider than a competition size ring, but we make do and do the best we can with it. I figure when I finally do it in a big ring, I’ll feel like I have SO much time between the letters and it will be easy! I had a fresh horse who really wanted to canter, so we had a few blips, but overall I was pretty pleased with how he’s going.
Then I figured just for fun I’d try a 4th level test, just to see where it’s at. I haven’t worked on this one yet, so Natalie got it for me to read through and then Remy and I went to it! It’s a little rough, there were a few places that I really surprised him, like in the first medium trot instead of doing the medium across the full length of the diagonal, there are supposed to be 6-7 steps of collected trot over X before finishing the diagonal in medium trot. Now, in a small arena this will be tough enough to pull off anyways, but since I haven’t practiced this with Remy it totally caught him off guard! There are a few other places where we weren’t set up well or he didn’t know what to expect, and towards the end he was starting to get tired, but I thought it still turned out half way decent. I’m hoping with a few more months of polish (if the weather will please cooperate!!!), it will be show ring ready by spring!