Due to feeling like crap, and hacking up a lung, I wasn’t up for doing much with Georgie this past week. Work has been insane lately, and I think the result of long days and stress just caught up with me and my body succumbed to the cold that has been going around. Instead of having my usual weekly lesson I asked my trainer Sarah to ride Georgie so I could watch and learn. One of my favorite things!
We opted for jumping as Sarah felt it would be good for me to see the things she feels Georgie needs work on. It was a great lesson and I learned a TON. Like how much harder it is for Georgie to go left than right. And also, sad to say, how Georgie just does not care one bit about hitting rails.
Sarah set up a simple vertical without a ground line and I think two strides out a little flowerbox. Every time Georgie would jump the vertical first, she would come to the flowerbox and just knock it over with her hind feet. It’s like 18″. She could have been a wee bit more careful.
My takeaways were this: Despite a nearly perfect ride every single time, Georgie still hits rails. In order to get her to not hit rails (hopefully) I need to get her to be comfortable going forward and straight and not careen through turns.
She actually did better at the larger fence, when we raised it to about 3’4 than she did when it was say 2’9. So, it’s not the height, its the approach and listening to aids. And being forward and straight. We’ve begun mentioning the P word in our lessons, (P for Prelim) but our conversations revolve around the fact that right now, as a team of two that haven’t ever gone prelim, it wouldn’t be safe or fair to Georgie to ask her to do xc. This inspires me to continue to be a better rider so that I can help when things get sticky and not rely on her to necessarily bail us out.
We also had a Test of Choice show yesterday which I participated in. I had signed up for Prelim A and Training B, but scratched the Prelim test and just did Training twice since I hadn’t been riding all week and wasn’t feeling better until two days before the show.
The highlights: After the first test, which was ok, I knew exactly what I wanted to work on for the second test. And, every movement I purposely worked on scored better for the second test! So, I know what I am doing! Yay! Also, remember how at Galway I messed up all our halts? Well…. on our second test we scored a 10 on our halt. I’ve never scored a 10 on anything, nor do I expect to again, but it was kinda amazing. Even if I am not sure after watching the video 3 times, that the halt deserved a 10. All I can think is that the entire movement was actually quite nice without any bobbles.
You can decide for yourself here: Dressage TOC 1.16
The fun part was that a friend and I made a deal that for every time I looked down in my tests, I had to fill her water buckets at a show. In the first test I looked down 2x and the second test 1x. So, three fills. Which isn’t the zero I wanted, but is WAY better than in the past.
The lowlights: Our lengthen scored a 5.5 and 5. Our worst scores ever. We’ve actually been working on these but only on the lunge line and in side reins. And I have seen an improvement. Now we just need to get it to happen when I am on her back. And the other lowlight was that I am just not strong enough sometimes to get the result from Georgie I want. Being that she’s built downhill it’s tough for her to be up and continue in that up frame while going forward. And sometimes, especially after the lengthen canter I’m just not strong enough to get her not to fall on the forehand into the working canter or trot. It’s super frustrating. But, I know I can improve my core strength and I can get her to be more comfortable in that up frame. Ugh. Now I know why Denny Emerson says to always look for an uphill horse when horse buying. At least that can make life a little easier.
I always like having something to work towards and it feels like right now Georgie and I are really on the cusp of moving to the next level, and not just being a “nice Training pair.” Lots to work on and lots to look forward to!