I gathered up Ransom & all his 2,000 parts dressage, and off we went to the empty arena. He warmed up nice, lazy but forward. So I hopped on.
We went through all the basics in our warmup together. He fought being collected just a little while. The nastiest of our ride were our canter transitions heading right out of trot. Once in it, he was fabulous, but going in.. sheesh! They were just bad enough to almost make me want to carry a whip next ride. Argh! Head-tossing trotting out like a nut in all efforts to avoid the canter. Strange, 'cuz once he was in it, the canter was fantastic!
I focused a bit on transitions, making sure all of the hunter flat work practice had stuck, even in the dressage saddle & french link bit. He was smooth, relaxed, and except for trot-to-canter-right, they were all really pretty. He tried antici---pating when I wanted walk to trot, but I mixed it up enough I got him distracted from habit & paying attention to me.
Then I hopped down, about 35 minutes into our work. I grabbed the rail razors and two poles. I set up two 8" cav poles, one on each side of the arena. I checked my girth & stirrups, and got back on. It's time I get some courage & launch us over the cavs again, and quit thinking that was how I messed my back up.
Our releases weren't amazing, he did knock one down, but we got in three canter-overs heading right (he acted like there hadn't been a week plus break of this activity, ears perked at the jump, picked up a sweet little canter, and hopped it.. once he had to make a SUPER long stride to jump over, but he still pulled it off without any speed or crazy), and two canter-overs heading left. He did knock it down heading left, I suspect with a back hoof, because he jumped up big in front over it. Again, even heading left, our first time doing so at canter, he didn't hesitate. He felt me lock eyes on the jump, then lifted himself in the canter as my eyes drifted to the tree tops in the pasture.
That's a sweeeeet feeling! It's something new, something my horse is awesome-good at, and something I've been dreaming of doing for about 8 years now. Since I watched my first O/F show class, I've been wanting to do it. I know we're not perfect. Of course it was the wrong saddle, so my legs couldn't come up short enough for heels-down (without whacking into those awesome dressage saddle knee rolls), our releases weren't perfect, but they sure are getting better. It's getting easier to "let go" all the way through the jump, since I can pretty much rely on him not increasing speed going away from the fence.
Neat Neat Neat! Tonight, I pull out the hunt saddle, and start out slow & easy, try to see what my back & legs can handle.
Regretfully, there's a dressage show this weekend, and we're not going. A two-day, with Day 1 being a judge I rode for last year. I'm sad... there's just no way I can fit myself or Ransom in time for a good showing. If I wanted to look just like we did last year, I'd go. But I want to look better, and I want to give Ransom the best chance to do better. I had seriously hoped we'd be riding Equitation, TL #1 & #2 Saturday, and Prix Caprilli #1 and TL #2 on Saturday. It isn't to be... Darned back injury.. messed up a show I was really looking forward to... grr!
oooh! Speaking of... Who has ridden or has copies of the Prix Caprilli tests? Share with us, please? I've looked in various spots online, and found different varities labelled PC 1, 2, and 3. It's hard to study, or practice, without knowing what the "right test" is. Thanks in advance!