After two days of much needed rain brought beautiful temps for riding and watching the Olympic Freestyle Dressage had me in the mood for a good solid ride I left the barn tonight feeling unsatisfied. You know that first time you cut open a Hot Pocket after looking at the photo on the outside of the box? Not as advertised.
We can canter courses of fences, jump through gymnastics, and hand gallop in a field.
But can we manage a 20m circle without looking like an ostrich? Nope.
It started out well, work on really using my outside rein, I imagined that I couldn't ride any straight lines so everywhere we went it had to be on some sort of a curve. Pretty good. I still get the feeling that she stands up too much on the inside rein so I concentrated on the feeling of the reins in my hands and if she felt even in them. I really have to work on keeping her supple and travelling through going to the right which is her stiff direction. She doesn't step under herself as well.
Then we worked on our downward transitions. This is really a weak spot for me and I don't do nearly enough of them so my horses always have crappy downward transitions but oddly enough pretty good upward ones. Obviously something I need to work on. Annie let me know that horses stop by putting their heads straight up in the air. So the key to this is doing multiple transitions. Nope. In Annie's mind if you're going to ask her to come back to the walk after 4 strides why bother trotting at all? Sheesh. Stupid human. So we go from walk to jog trot back to walk while making faces the entire time. Eventually we accomplished some decent downward transitions if you ignored the pinned ears.
Then we tossed in her favorite gait, the canter. Or truthfully, the hand gallop. We can hand gallop 3/4 of the 20m circle, ostrich trot, then back to a hand gallop. Don't even think about doing it to the right. Angry ostrich pony face, hi ho silver into the canter, splat out of it. Since we've cantered once we're obviously going to canter again so insert angry ostrich faces and frequent grabs at the reins to let me know that she really wants to canter again. As I switch direction minding my outside aids and get rocked to the back of the saddle during a transition that certainly had plenty of...lift... but an equal amount of snark.
Since I have to feed on Saturday I might try switching back to my jumping saddle to see how much my lack of skill in my dressage saddle is interfering with her movement.