Hey guys! Sorry this update is not as soon as I would have liked it to be and it isn’t going to be as lengthy or in-depth either.
In a nutshell I am swamped these days! We are currently ranked high enough to be qualified for both Gladstone (Festival of Champions) and NAJYRC for Juniors! With these two competitions looming in the not-so-distant future more decisions and activities are demanding my attention everyday. Not to mention my move into Alpharetta has added two hours of driving time into my already packed schedule! I am not complaining though; this is everything I wanted and more. I am currently riding about three horses a day – Val (of course), Douglas, and then sometimes one or two of the horses Jason has – and my body is feeling the increase of work.
Val is going super well these days; he is very happy even though we are working hard towards our goals. I get up about 7AM everyday to make it over to Applewood by 9AM mounted and ready to ride with the Boss. We have really been focusing on the consistency and brilliance of the gaits, including adding a second fancier trot on him. It is easier every time I ride him although my thighs are still not sure they like half-halting so much. Jason is really trying to get me to ride more effectively from a better position that is not only beautiful but supportive and quiet – that has not been easy. I just wish my hands would stay upright and my leg would stay back and on – I swear it is and then I look and check! I did go to the doctor for my physical for college and he did say that my spine is actually about 8 degrees off from center, leaning towards the left! That would explain why I tend to have a hard time sitting in the direction of travel in the half pass work. Always have to make things harder for myself.
We are going back and forth between the snaffle and the double these days, trying to keep him fresh in both and the work without stirrups is never-ending! I really enjoy it, strange as that may seem, because it really does ‘click’ my seat bones into place on him and there is no room for me to cheat because I will just end up on the ground. The worst thing about riding without stirrups has to be when Jason comes after us with the whip though because he is no holds bar if Val is behind the leg (a place he likes to regularly vacation at). My core just needs to get stronger so my half halts come from there instead of my arms which will in turn help me keep him more consistent. It’s definitely a vicious cycle but one that I am slowly chipping away at. I love dressage because it isn’t something you can fix in a day. Dressage is a lifetime!
I do have to brag on my great horse though, if just for a moment. Last week we rode our first perfect set of five four-tempi changes across the diagonal in the big arena. And oh, did I mention I did them without stirrups? If I could just learn how to count we would probably get them on the first try instead of the second. It also doesn’t help that I count “One, Two, Three, Change” and Jason counts “Change, Two, Three, Four”. No wonder I cannot ever seem to get to four – my body likes three and five a whole lot more!
I have also been fortunate enough to be given the chance to ride two of the horses Jason works with in an effort to improve my dressage education – and I will take any opportunity to grow, especially when it involves nice horses such as these! They both are teaching me so much, mainly that I really don’t know anything. Amis and Ballina are two very different horses: Amis is a little bit colder to the leg but knows most everything through to the Grand Prix and regularly makes me feel very humble, and Ballina is a little rocket who can get hot in a moment if you aren’t riding every stride as your own but is extremely fun especially in the lateral work and transitions within the gaits. I am so thankful for my opportunities this summer, not only towards training Val but training me as well! I just want to mention how much I appreciate both my amazing trainer Jason Canton and the wonderful barn Applewood Farm.
The other thing occupying my life right now is fundraising. I am an artistic person in my spare time (ha, funny joke!) and so I have designed a logo for our region to put on T-shirts to sell supporting me and my journey to NAJYRC and Gladstone this 2010 season (if you are interested in purchasing one I will be posting them up here as soon as everything is final!). We are also on a mission contacting potential sponsors for the Region 3 Team looking for monetary and item donations. If you are interested in donating to either myself or the Region 3 Junior Team please do not hesitate to contact me! We are going to be at the Poplar Place June Dressage Show having a silent auction for some awesome items as well as holding a bake sale in an effort to raise some money. If you are around please stop by and see us, even if it is just to tell us that you are thinking of us and supporting our efforts! Each and every person matters, and every little thing counts!