Sorry for the absence - was out of the country for a week on a beautiful, relaxing vacation. Ben did not get a full vacation himself - trainer rode a couple of times as did his other rider.
Upon getting home, I decided to give my new saddle another assessment. As it turns out- I believe the problem is that it is too wide. So while it starts in the right place, upward it creeps until its resting on top of his shoulders. I am not hopeful creative padding with help with this- but I am going to try while I wait for my appt with my local saddle fitter. There is definitely room for more flocking, so hopefully she can tweak it to make it useable! But for now, it is sidelined until further notice, and we're back to the good old Isabell.
On Saturday we're going to our second show. Hoping the temps stay cooler and do not climb high. So far The Weather Channel is calling for Sun and 73...which would be perfect!
Ben all in all is doing great. We're currently schooling the usual - adding in simple changes, and overall trying to develop a more balanced, quality canter for longer periods of time. The things helping the most with this are leg yields-to-canter and the simple changes. Now that we have a much longer arena, we're also doing a lot of serpentine & change of bend exercises. And as always: transitions! His trot-to-canter transition is doing much better - and the aid for it is becoming much less invisible- balance him on the aids and move the hip- voila- canter! Not 100% of the time but we're definitely getting better.
This week I am going to introduce canter poles as an exercise, as well as going back to some trot poles. I'll be honest, they are a pain to set up and take down, so as a whole our group has been awfully lazy about setting these up! But I do think they will be helpful and so I'm going to kick my own butt to get it done.