The heat this past weekend has been almost unbearable. Imagine a heat index of anywhere from 105 to 110 degrees and you have the right idea. I know that I am not feeling the most enthusiastic about riding in such temperatures so it only follows that Val is not that enthusiastic either. Jason was gone this past weekend looking at horses and so I was flying solo working with my horse everyday. We had a tough ride on Friday down in the big ring (the outdoor full size dressage arena) which included me being very firm about him staying connected and going forwards. Being behind the leg is a never-ending concept for me to constantly refresh with him. It doesn’t help that my horse is a big red head sometimes – what a temper on that one! He can get very offended and believes he is entitled to his opinions, most of which include everything but what I want to do. He is also still only seven, and so those baby meltdown moments are still very much an ever-present part of the training. Usually, I have to say, he throws a temper tantrum and then gets over it, so I really cannot complain too much. Imagine a toddler throwing their body around, pounding their fists, now translate to my large chestnut baby and you have a good picture of what these really do look like. Still, his gaits are rapidly improving and I can really feel my position and body being more effective as the half halt is now starting to go through more often. It’s a learning process for both of us since I have never ridden beyond the point that I am at and he has never been trainer further than I have taken him.
Saturday was a bit better, probably because I had more of a plan on what I wanted to work on for the day. When I go out there and say, “This ______ is what I want to work on, and I will stop when I accomplish ______” it goes better for both of us. I have to get better at being firm with myself and always asking for 1000% but knowing when he has been good enough for the day’s work. Sometimes I can feel myself getting too greedy and asking for too much – and that is when the ride really falls apart. My fault, and something I am certainly working on improving! Saturday was lots of transitions, with a focus on the simple changes being precise and really on the aids. I find that I don’t ride all the way through the downwards transition and I get lazy in my core. Half the time he takes care of it and will do the transition perfect, my crutch because he knows what he should do, and the other half he feels me cop-out and does the same, resulting in a messy and unorganized sprawl. By the end of the ride they were better, more organized and I was taking more time to plan and be careful with them. I just always have to do my job especially when I ask so much of him.
Monday was not so good. I felt out some potential freestyle music on him but that was really about it. Still on the hunt for music, and I can report to you all that I am over musical freestyles completely!
Today Jason was back in town, although we had to ride at 5pm this afternoon – not ideal with the ever-present heat. A very tough ride again today, for all the five minutes I was on. The eventful part had to be the ride back down to Old Mill though. It started raining just as we finished up and I started walking back. About half way down the hill trail, before I crossed the bridge and went up the road, was when the rain really started to come down in turn soaking both me and him. We got back to the barn just in time, right as the real storm crashed headfirst into Alpharetta.
These were taken after we lost power today! It was one heck of a storm. Equestrian really is an all-weather sport and don’t forget it!
It was a scary drive home, but I am in one piece. Now, I am headed to bed to do it all again tomorrow – this time bright at early with an 8:30AM lesson!