Sunday, September 28, 2014

last lesson before the HT

We had our last lesson at OF on Saturday before today's horse trial (!!!!). It was also the first time we jumped since the combined training last week, as I've been focusing exclusively on dressage. 

I got to the barn early to do the stalls etc while someone else fed. Isabel's SMZ course just ended Friday, and she had been getting breakfast in addition to her normal dinner to facilitate the medication. 

But she's officially off the drugs... meaning she's also off breakfast. Poor thing apparently didn't get the memo tho, and was confused about not getting brought in to eat.  

She kept pacing at the gate, and then looking at me like, 'um, emma - i ordered breakfast and they aren't giving it to me. doooo somethingggg!!!!' sorry girl! Her only consolation was a candy cane from me... followed by her muzzle. No wonder she thought about playing hard to catch when I went out to get her later lol.

ANYWAYS... back to the lesson. We arrived at OF a bit early, which gave me time to hand walk Izzy around the freshly set up dressage court. 

'nbd' -isabel

I also walked her around the indoor, since it was set up as ring 2 for dressage, and I wasn't sure where we'd be riding. Plus, it's not known if Isabel has ever been inside an indoor... so, worth a little looksie. 

'well hey there good lookin, come here often?'

She got to nose around all the corners and peek into all the mirrors (lol) plus generally sniff and snort a bit. Nothing crazy, but definitely taking a good look. Later found out we'll be outside anyway, but still. Good experience - esp since there will be so many more new things to look at today. 

Once on for our lesson, I was able to show off some of the fruits of our dressage labor. Starting with my new warm up routine, wherein we flex the base of the neck with a very exaggerated bend until everything is loosey goosey. Our trot work was quite nice (for us) and my trainer encouraged me to keep legging on to get her to lift more with her back and lower her nose. 

Even the canter was ok-ish, at least on the left lead. I definitely foresee our test falling apart after the free walk change of rein from left to right. We don't, uh, really have any 'give' to the right. Sigh. Maybe one day?

We warmed up over fences with a quick trip down the outside in 'four or five' according to P. Trotted in and the four was right there, easy peasy. 

Next round was a single diagonal bending to the out jump from the outside line, right turn back to another diagonal bending to the in jump of the outside line (but this time jumped coming home). It was essentially a figure eight, if that makes sense. We did an easy four and five strides, respectively. 

There were some delays in between courses as two of my compatriots experienced unplanned dismounts. Both were fine, however.  

To put together an actual course, we repeated the previous two bending lines, then came around to a diagonal in three or four strides. Izzy was really hunting the jumps and moving forward so well - I practically had a loop in the reins (for me, at least, since I'm usually GRIPPING) and the three was perfect.

The distances were just right there. Isabel and I felt totally in sync, and I was actually staying out of her way and *gasp* letting her make decisions. And she was nailing it. 

Trainer P said after that course (our first real course of the lesson, mind you) "If it were me I'd be finished with that." 

Don't have to tell me twice! Despite the long walk back to the trailer (which we usually do on horseback), I hopped off right then and there to loosen the girth and wrap the stirrups. I wanted it to be 100% clear to Isabel that we were DONE, and that it happened immediately following her lovely jump round. 

video of last course. this is pretty much our A game at the moment, and it feels GOOD
(ignore the random circle between lines 2 & 3 - I had a BUG right between my eyes. ew)

We stuck around for a while longer to watch the rest of the lesson. Isabel dutifully volunteered to weed the edges of the arena, and I graciously accepted her offer lol. 

So it was a good lesson. Very positive. I guess this means I feel as prepared as I'm gonna for the HT? It would have been great to get another actual dressage lesson... but c'est la vie. 

Today's Goal: finish with a number, not a letter.

Ride Times:
Dressage: 1:39
Stadium: 3:15
XC: 3:30


  1. You guys look great! Good luck and have a great time!

  2. Y'all look positive and forward, perfect recipe for a fun show! Love your Isabel commentary!

    1. haha thanks - she's very, uh 'expressive', so it's easy to imagine all the various things that might be going through her mind

  3. Good luck!!! You guys are going to do great! Isn't that crazy how the dressage times are always some odd non-rounded up time!

    1. thanks! i was thinking about that too - the jump times seem so normal, but i guess maybe that's one of the various ways dressage asserts itself as very particular?? lol

  4. Just have to say that I love that you event with an Arabian! Hope the HT went well!

    1. thanks! i'm too new to the eventing world to know if there are other arabs competing in my region... but i do know they're certainly not common! but whatever - she's an awesome horse and seems to love it :)

  5. Love your pace and contact through the course!! You guys look like you are ready to rock! :)

    1. thanks! that's pretty much the nicest and most consistent pace we've ever achieved. it won't always be there - but not i know it exists!!

  6. LOVE this!!! The video looks great. Isabel has such a beautiful natural rhythm and you ride her really well.

  7. LOVE this!! Isabel's rhythm and pace is spot on and so are you. Way to go, it must feel great!

    1. thanks!! i'm seriously looking forward to the day when we are finding that same rhythm more often than not :)