Guys, we're totally knocking our 2016 goals out of the park. Yesterday we decided to do this:
l know, we're basically doing the Grand Prix
Yes he did actually "jump" it a few times, but then mostly just trotted/hopped over. Interesting thing is that regardless of direction, he wanted to land to the left each time. However, the quality of his right lead canter improved whereas his left was so-so...and it is usually the other way 'round.
I hope to do more of this over time - trainer and I both agreed, it was quite helpful...and fun!
So we're back in full swing. My hip is still being a bit persnickety but with lots of stretches (and advil) it is much better than it was.
The last couple of lessons we've been playing around with some new-ish things - again more attempts at shoulder fore/in at trot. Walk is no problem he can easily do shoulder in on either side, and can even switch it on the long side. Trot rocks his little brain. But I'm happy to say that we can mostly kinda sorta do it. Let's put it this way, I see us doing a respectable shoulder in at the trot by the fall, vs in 200 years.
Other things we're working on are CLEAR and crisp up and down transitions. Emphasize clear. Ben has gotten much better at reacting to my aids, however, sometimes he's all jumbles in the up and down.
We've also been working on creating a bit of spring to his trot, and his canter. The trot we've been doing lots of half halts and going in and out of a passage-like trot. It is hard work - he wants to go long and flat and we're saying no, smaller steps underneath you and vertical. Lift the knees, dude! It is hard work so we don't do it a lot, a progressive build of a few steps in and out a few times per ride.
The canter work is coming along as well. Controlling the shoulders has seemed to really help with the quality of canter. And by that it is getting him to really square up and be aligned. So to the left there is a lot of working square turns (remember we do this in trot too!) , cantering a square instead of a circle. otherwise he wants to fall onto the left shoulder. To the right it is a lot of inside leg outside rein, and much much shorter sets of canter - 5-15 strides and down. Clear downs, clear ups.
I can tell you, it is hard - oh my abs and back) but it is FUN!
Wow, a whole month has gone by since my last entry. Yikes. Not a lot has been going on with Ben - other than getting a bit of a break while I took care of this:
In addition to being completely swamped with moving/prepping/cleaning/yardwork/cleaning/etc, my hip has decided to scream, rather loudly, that something is wrong. I've been ignoring it, but my last couple attempts at riding did not end well. Sigh. I've been trying to stretch it out and do what I can to manage the pain, but dang it, nothing is really working. Stubborn as I am (and also lacking time to go to my GP to get my Massage referral & then an appointment with her - I know it is muscular as I've had xrays and nothing is wrong with the joint), I am pressing on. I just don't have time in my schedule to muck about with the health care system.
Yesterday I tried riding Ben again, after doing some concentrated yoga type stretches, incorporating a few more to the mix. THAT helped. Not perfect, and I pretty much lost feeling in my left foot for awhile when riding, but it wasn't too bad, and this morning, I do not feel worse for wear.
The good news is that my time out of the saddle has meant my trainer has ridden Ben more. Which means he feels lovely, haha. I did all of our canter work to start because trying to collect and post his trot with my hip just wasn't happening. His refreshed jumpy canter (thanks, trainer!) really helped loosen things up making the trot work tolerable.
Can't really say I'm having fun riding, and the reality is I'm pretty distracted with this new house and my hip, but we press on. I'll get back to it soon. Not sure what our next adventure will be since my second distraction is my mare and getting her to her first recognized shows in June & July. I might even try riding her in July if the first June show goes well, and if I can somehow fix my hip.