Such a handsome face
I started off telling my favorite dressage judge about all of the issues we had been having and I was worried about the saddle fit and possibly EPM. She said to get on and let her see what was going on. I did and I had my horse back. He stood like a rock at the mounting block, walked off calmly, was promptly stretching and flexing. Of course the judge was wondering about my sanity. We didn't do a lot on Friday, but we had some quality walk work and played with some baby leg yields.
Pongo's girl made him a stall sign and it made me so happy
Saturday, I had an early lesson. We used the same exercises to get him to stretch and flex and added in the baby leg yields and shoulder fores as necessary. We then moved onto playing with the trot. The trot was pretty rough, but he hadn't trotted in a couple weeks. It took some fiddling but we managed to get some ok work. I was so pleased with him, because he didn't get super antsy and was trying the whole time. The trot is hard for him because he is still learning how to carry himself and when things get hard his solution is to go faster.
I guess the golf cart has become a jump...
I am still flying high from the lesson Sunday morning. I asked to squeeze one in early and we started at 7:15, which I am grateful for because we were both drenched in sweat. We worked on transitioning from the medium walk to the free walk back to the medium walk. My biggest thing is I need to remember that I have a horse that I can ride now. When he starts to tense rather than redirect I get out of his way and let him do his stuff. I can't do this anymore. I need to start getting in his way more instead of letting him cruise so much.
Video from Saturday that has the trot work
As a high point, the judge said that she would have given us an 8 on our medium walk. While, she does tend to be generous, it would probably translate to a 6.5-7 from a tougher judge. That made me really happy considering how long it has taken to develop the walk. We did more with the trot and managed to get the adjustable semi-stretchy trot back.
I love his face even if he does have a dinky forelock.
In the trot I tend to lock up my elbow (especially the right one) and it gives him something to brace against. Once I got that under control and remembered to trust my half halt (I was hanging in it too long) his trot got so much better. We worked on a 20 meter circle with a 10 or 15 meter circle at E. The smaller circle forced him to slow down and balance and then he was able to really use his top line. We actually had a sort of stretchy trot. It was no where near a show ring one, but it was a major step in the right direction. Of course since it was a 7:15 lesson there was no media.
Not the best but we aren't sticky anymore
As far as his health goes, I am leaning towards he was hurting and the five days off let him recover, but then he was a bit sticky for the next few rides. I haven't taken him off the list for the vet (I am superstitious and scared I will jinx it) yet, but I don't think I will need to keep the appointment. I am going to keep after the saddle fitter to get her to check the saddle because it is getting snug, but I think I still have a bit more time before it is truly a problem.
So much sweat
I am so relieved to have my horse back, because despite my best efforts I was firmly on the crazy train. As D said it was a "learning experience". Of course I asked if I could skip the learning part and go straight to the knowledge. I am just thankful that I have a fantastic support team and that they are still talking to me. And I also really appreciate all the well wishes from you guys, so thank you.