Just a short update on our schooling. Lately we’ve been focusing on the bits of our next test which we’re a little weak on.  And I pleased to report that we’re making good progress.

Abbey’s still not expecting (or listening!) for walk-canter transitions. Once we’ve done one or two she’s fairly quick to react to my aids but the first time I ask she’s rather slow on the uptake. At the moment I am not too worried about it as I think that this will improve as they become a more familiar request in our schooling session.

In my last lesson my RI had us doing 3 loop serpentines in canter with trot transitions to change the lead. We also did canter-trot-canter-trot on a 20m circle, with transitions every quarter.  This really improved Abbey’s canter as she had to sit back  on her hocks through each transition and within a lap she stayed sitting in anticipation for the next transition.

Falling in and out through her left shoulder is still a thing we’re working on and the RI had us focusing on each 1/4 of a 20m circle ,making sure I had correct bend, it was the right size and shape. While it doesn’t sound like much of an exercise, breaking the circle down into parts really did help me to focus and achieve a good circle.

My other recent advice comes from a Facebook chat with Diamonds in the Rough Dressage. She wrote about her horse being hot and tense so I asked her how she manages to help him relax. This is what she said:

“Ummm steer with my eyelashes and kneecaps?! 😂

I have a set routine warm up – it’s varies how much I do of what, but it’s his (and my) comfort blanket. We both know where we stand etc. 

When he’s super hot I finish every ‘bit’ by stretching him out and giving him a pat, to remind him to reach into the contact sensibly. 

Doing lots of forwards ridden downwards transitions is key for him – saying don’t over react to the half halt but you must react in some way (plus slows down his crazy hind legs that bump him croup high when he goes super tight). 

Little things like a give and retake as you work the canter piris, working walk piris, sitting a stretchy trot etc – asking them to give you somewhere to sit and just ‘wait a moment please’. 

I did ride carefully today, there’s always a time and place for having the encounter about them getting rude. Fig did have a moment in the warm up (he wanted to go, I said no, resulted in a capriole whilst I tried to check the clock 🙄), but I just asked again please wait for me 2 seconds and then praised him like crazy for it. 

If all else fails, dial the work back to something you both find easy peasy so you can both have a hug and a pat. Warming up for the competition isn’t the place for schooling 🙂 xox

“Also! Can’t believe I forgot 🤦🏼‍♀️

Sounds a bit silly but please give it a go… if you feel a bit worried or tight… have a big oleeee yawn! Really roll your shoulders and get into it. Then… tell yourself you’re EXCITED. You’re not tense. You’re excited! Associate the tension with something positive to turn it around 🙂 xox”

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Some sound advice I thought, and some I’ll be definitely be putting into practice on Thursday (if we go…feels like the gear box might be broken on the van #eek #expensive!)