Last Thursday, H and I had a good ride. Jump saddle, all work on the flat, no poles or jumps, just getting some forward without
Friday, was more of the same. Nothing amazing, nothing disastrous either.
Saturday, I hauled to Houston, and rode with my friends Laura & Traci for a while. I rode Harley, she rode Harley, I got back on. Rode baby cavaletti trot to and canter to. Even canter to with a ground pole. As we started the canter, things didn't feel perfect, and I turned him in some circles to get a nice steady feel canter before I even looked at the jump. When he did approach it, it was amazing. Totally quiet, just like a stride. Laura called out, "Ride like it's not even there. These are super short, so no reason to over-prepare. Quit thinking so much and just ride it." Laura has seen Harley compete before, over a year ago, though, and she was impressed with the improvements we've made. Quite the compliment there... :)
After the two less than stellar jump rides I'd had, I expected some of his little fit to arise with Laura. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Total angel. Granted, everything was short, and small, with no opportunity to go any higher (at least not with what was pulled out to use), but he didn't do a single silly thing.
Take home thought? He was super quiet over the cavaletti - especially after a long dressage ride. :)
Then yesterday, I was worrying about what I needed to do in the ride. Which saddle? Which bit? Would I longe him first? Side reins? What about jumps from the line? Which height?
And I decided to take it completely opposite. I saddled him up dressage, in the myler combo bit, put on my helmet, and hopped on. We walked all over the pasture, then wandered down the road a teensy bit. He was quiet, and while observant, he wasn't overly alert. Back to the house, followed by a U turn, and back down that road again. Total ride, 25 minutes.
Tonight, we'll just see.