The Girl with Two Left Feet Tries to Dance with her Horse

Hopefully everyone was able to find some time today to get outside and enjoy the weather.  What a relief it was to be able to take a deep breath of fresh air sans 100% humidity.  Fall can’t be too far away which means the oppressive heat will retreat until 2013.

The entry for our next schooling show has been mailed.  We shall attempt Training Test 2 and Test 3.  I’m still not certain if we are ready for Test 3, but we will give it a go and keep fingers and toes crossed that we don’t embarrass ourselves.  There are parts of Test 3 that are familiar, but I have to admit that the change of rein at the canter will be a challenge.  After all, since I still don’t have good control over Ike’s shoulders, how can I be expected to turn from the short end and onto the diagonal without some drift occurring.

Case in point, today was a perfect day to check on the straightness of my lines and to check for drift.  The gorgeous weather today was preceded by rain storms yesterday.  The bluestone was smooth and we were the first ones to ride.  Ike performed a smooth left lead canter transition, we finished our circle, and headed toward the short end.  Had to give Ike a little bump as a reminder that he was still to be cantering (I think he recalls the other tests when we down transition before the short end.)  We made it around the short end and we made the turn to the long diagonal with probably too much inside rein.  Attempted a down transition in the vicinity of X, and I also tried to remember to half halt a couple of strides before X.  Then made our way back to the other end to check out our travel path.  I should have taken a photo.  Hmm, it definitely drifted too far right and I had to guide Ike back to the correct line.  The worst part is that you have to make that turn right down near the judge…uh-oh.  No chance that it will slip by unnoticed.  At least we have a month before we go.  Perhaps we will have one of those “and then a miracle occurs” moments and everything will fall in place.

Yes, I like to share our difficulties and challenges, but I do continue to be amazed at Ike’s progress.  My only comparison is with Cigar (my now retired OTTB).  It took almost 2 years to get Cigar to canter in both directions when asked and without improvisation during the up transition (judge’s comments usually included such descriptors as “playful”  or “disobedient.”)  I feel truly blessed that I now have a young horse who is so giving and kind.

We will be back in the saddle again tomorrow.


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