Ready or not, show season is upon us. For some riders it started in April, but for Ike and I, it starts next weekend. After the lack of riding this winter due to weather woes and injuries from my unplanned dismount, I just didn’t feel confident enough to ride down centerline any earlier than May. I’m just glad that we were at least fit enough by mid-April to not get chastised by Hilda for lack of rider/horse fitness.
Are we ready for those first scores of the season? Hmm, that would depend on what test we are getting ready to ride. For this first show, I wimped out and just couldn’t commit to riding all First Level tests. Since our goal is to make it to the Region 1 CBLM Championship Show (http://www.bglongaker.com/cblmain.htm ) that uses Test 2 as the qualifying test at each national level, I signed up for Training Level Test 2 both days, and First Level Test 2 on Saturday. I’d put money on my scores at Training being better than First.
Some might say that we should just commit to First Level and be done with Training, but there are still days that Ike and I can’t get our act together. Well, more me than Ike. I still let him get too straight while riding a circle and lose control of the outside shoulder. I still let my reins get too long. I still lean forward in my canter transition. I let Ike’s haunches lead the way or get left behind in our leg yield. Our canter to trot transitions are not as smooth as they should be. I wish I was a more experienced rider some days, but I am who I am. Can’t really pretend to be anyone else.
For his part in our adventures, Ike tries his best to do what he thinks I’ve asked him to do. Of course, when my request is muddled, he has to play “Guess what Mom wants.” He guesses right more often than not which I appreciate. 🙂 His brother would take the opportunity to do whatever he thought would be fun (buck, bolt, cowkick). Ike appears to be quite fit for early in the year. When we were pushed during our lesson this week, Ike wasn’t even breathing hard when we finished. His canter is improving with every week, so I am hopeful that we will show the judges a solid canter rather than a “collected” gallop.
As we prepare for the coming season, I also continue to work on and struggle with my sit trot. I am well aware that it is a necessary skill to continue my journey. Part of it is Ike’s back telling me to “get off” it now; part is me tensing my body and restricting his movement. I watched the upper level riders at the clinic and then the video of myself. Ugh! Why is it so easy for them and hard for me?! I so often feel like the remedial student that just can’t get their act together to graduate to the next level. Sit trot practice is now a daily exercise. Can I go from sitting to rising to sitting again without interrupting Ike’s rhythm and tempo? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I would hate to think that I’m doomed to never leaving First Level because I lack this essential skill. Poor Ike. When you see the Craigslist advertisement for “Horse Seeking Proficient Rider,” you will know that Ike has given up on me.
Luckily, the prep work on the trailer is done, Ike’s mane is pulled and his goat hairs have shed, so I can concentrate on riding in the coming week. Oh, yeah, and learning the First Level tests…yeah, that would be an essential skill as well.