I know I can…

15 May

What a busy time this is – with the arrival of the nice weather, I was happily taking full advantage until a horrid cold slapped me silly last week! I’m still doing my best to take full advantage (as coincidentally my cold seems to disappear when I’m with horses!), but I did miss a ride on the weekend.

Just a quick update from my last entry – I rode Quinn last week, he was good, it was nice, we didn’t have any terrible moments. I haven’t been able to get out to TB’s this week as I’ve been too busy focussing on Corona as well as battling this cold. I will be riding Quinn again on Monday and then I plan on getting back on Amber until I need my next confidence booster.

Last Thursday was an off night with Corona. I’m not sure exactly why but I think it was due in part to the onslaught of mosquitos that were eating us both alive. He was agitated from the moment I got on and while he wasn’t misbehaving, he just wasn’t himself. We schooled in the ring and things were going fairly well until SM arrived and began filling old feed bags with manure for her garden. Apparently, Corona does not appreciate large white bags flapping around within 50 feet of him. The Boss was watching this unfold and then decided to come out and watch more intently. I did what I could to keep Corona focussed on me and he did calm down, but it was one of those things where he was just not going to get over it fully until the white bags were gone. I didn’t hold it against him, like I said, it was an off night.

Redemption came on Saturday when I rode with CG and SM. The mares have been moved from their normal field, to the in-field in the middle of the track. The Boss had re-seeded the riding ring so we had to ride on the track, which was fine. Several of the mares are in heat, so they were prancing around the fence line oogling at Corona and Roller and I’m pleased to say that Corona couldn’t have cared less! In fact, he was the best behaved out of the three of them! We had a really fun ride and practiced all sorts of transitions. What further impressed me was that Corona and I were often behind Roller and Ember; Corona prefers being the lead horse when out in a group and this has caused issues in the past with him getting over agitated when he’s in behind. On Saturday, he didn’t seem overly concerned for the most part so that was great and I’m hoping that we’ve had a breakthrough.

Last night, CG and I rode in the ring (don’t tell the Boss). We really needed to get some solid practice in for our first show which is coming up on Sunday! Once again, Corona proved to me what an awesome horse he is. Our halts were fantastic, our transitions were solid, he remained calm and relaxed and stayed straight, he even was consistent in his stretching forward and downward. I can’t get too ahead of myself because the issue that we have at shows is that he gets super wound-up and goes around like a giraffe in the show ring, but at least I’m confident that we are prepared in theory! The other good thing is that this show has three tests offered at Training level, whereas most shows only offer two. With it being our first show, I think this extra test will be beneficial in the sense that by test #3, Corona should be relaxed enough that we end the day on a positive note – of course, I’m aiming for all three tests to be relaxed, but what’s that saying, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”. In my rides, I’ve really tried to focus on what I can do to help the horse stay calm. I’ve been focussing on taking deep breaths and not being tense as well as rewarding him when he goes forward in a relaxed fashion. I know we can do an amazing dressage test, and I really want to be able to take what we can do at home, to an outside environment. I was watching some videos of our tests last year and the one thing that really stood out was that I tried to compensate for Corona’s tension by holding him back too much. I really have concentrate on keeping him going forward so that he doesn’t feel claustrophobic which exacerbates the tension. With that said, my goals for Sunday are as follows:

1) Keep horse moving forward with rhythm;

2) Stay calm, breathe, and smile;

3) I would like to achieve a minimum of 60% in each of the tests.

4) No injuries – I feel I need to say this one because the last show of last summer, I ended up with a broken finger! The summer before that, it was a fractured heel. So seriously, no injuries for me or the horse!

I’m planning on riding again tomorrow night and Saturday and will be further working on maintaining forward and rhythmic gates as well as cultivating the wonderful and relaxed horse that I know I have. I know I can, I know I can, I know I can…

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