Isabel and I arrived at the farm about 30min early, and I was in the saddle 20min before start time. Why? So that we could just walk on the buckle for 20 minutes. Doing nothing but sniffing the corners and mirrors and allowing Isabel to just stride out on nice non-jagged-frozen-mud footing and loosen up in her own time.
I think it made a nice difference too. We're only really riding 2x weekly at this point, and the ground conditions are such that Isabel isn't moving around a whole lot outside of our rides. So. We walked. And walked. And walked. And then finally started the lesson with the horse already a bit softened.
|wishing this arena was at our barn so we could ride there all the time!|
But we pressed on, focusing on riding the horse where I wanted her to be and allowing her to slowly move up into that space. Trotting circles of varying sizes, long and short diagonals, serpentines, riding slightly off the rail, leg yielding from the quarter line, cantering a brief circle and long side in each direction... That's more or less our standard warm up these days.
Then we opted to go through the second planned test for the show, even tho all pressure was off at this point. And lemme tell ya - after this lesson, I may or may not have been a little relieved that the show was cancelled haha. Damn sitting trot, y'all.
|must inspect every mirror during our indoor 'trail ride' warm up haha|
Anyways, tho, we rode the test: USEA 2014 Preliminary Eventing Test A. Well, we never actually ran through the whole thing start to finish. Instead, we worked on the first half - all the trot work before the free walk - a few times in a row, then moved on to the second half for a couple attempts. This is how I plan to practice on my own too - tho I'll probably break it down to even smaller sections.
New additions to this test from Training B include: sitting trot (obvi. fml); 10m trot circles; leg yields from center line; shallow counter canter loops; and change of lead through trot. Not included: stretchy trot.
My impression is that this test would still challenge us even if it were ridden in rising trot, but add that sitting component and it becomes really much trickier than I would have expected. I like it tho. I think we can figure it out.
|gotta sniff all the corners too. every time. always.|
- Geometry. Omfg, Emma. Do not throw geometry out the window just bc you're sitting the trot! Seriously!?!
- Specifically: ride my corners as deeply and accurately as possible to set up for that first little trot tour of 10m circle, change of direction from E to B, then another 10m circle. Isabel is nimble and handy - we should be able to make this happen nicely.
- The biggest trick to those movements is showing a distinct change from going straight to circling to going straight again. And NAILING the 90* turns onto and off of the E-B line. Trainer C noted that presenting a nice picture as we cross the arena is key.
- First leg yield is our easier direction. Be prepared for the turn down CL, achieve straightness first, and then GO. Ride those shoulders, and get into that corner for the love of god.
- Trot lengthening should be fine, but transitioning back to working trot and reestablishing my sitting trot is REALLY hard. And that immediate turn back to CL for the leg yield in our harder direction comes up FAST. This is an area where I need to maintain composure, balance, and awareness. Plus maybe a half halt or two... ya know. lol
- Next is a walk transition then free walk across the long diagonal. Despite my unreasonable fear of long diagonals for free walk, I'm actually not too worried for this test. The movements up to this point are so rapid-fire for us that we must stay completely packaged up. So Isabel is definitely ready for the stretch here.
- Then that series of movements that seems common in first level tests: free walk to medium walk to working trot to canter. boom boom boom. And naturally it's our harder right lead depart.
- This is another challenge for us. I MUST have Isabel soft to my hands before we even trot, and then must be sitting as well as possible to help with that canter transition. Realistically, tho, we'll often be hollow and above the bit here. Le sigh.
- Canter work in this test is pretty cool, and I think we should actually do well here when we're in regular work. On this particular day, tho, it was a little harder.
- Right off the bat you canter down the long side to E, where you circle 20m in medium canter (call me ridiculous if you want, but I got excited that they use the big girl word 'medium' instead of 'lengthened' haha). We can absolutely make that happen.
- What didn't really happen in the lesson was a distinct transition down to working canter. What can I say, mare has some energy right now.
- This translated to rougher counter canter loops than I know we can do. Again tho, I'm not worried here. This wrinkle should be smoothed with more frequent work.
- Even more rough tho was the change of lead through trot at X. We were consistently late here and Isabel was a little too fussy. Again, when we're working more and can manage a slower and more balanced working canter I think this should (fingers crossed) be fine for us.
- Then another counter canter loop, and another transition to trot at X - this time staying in trot (SITTING trot, Emma!!!!). Finding my sitting trot after that downward is... ugh. So hard. My torso needs to be literally 6+ inches farther back than I want.
- Another lengthening across the long diagonal, then another shitty transition to sitting the working trot again, and immediately turn down CL to halt at X. And commence sobbing. lol just kidding
|pictured: a new sparkly bright plaything about which i am SUPER excited and cannot wait to share more!!!|
Hopefully we'll get that practice in before the next show date!