|That is one excited husky!|
Of course, all the good work seems to go to my head, and I put in some mediocre schooling rides in preparation for a schooling show. Finally, we head off to the first show post dressage boot camp. Despite some minor issues (breaking a billet strap, a huge downpour and thunderstorm, and forgetting my spurs), we manage to get some qualifying scores for IDS and have decent tests. I still see a lot to worry about for our upcoming recognized show, but I feel much more confident. I wrap up the month talking about how dressage riders use their core muscles, and figuring out a way to strengthen mine in the right ways.
Continuing my focus on dressage equitation, I talk about my strangely inflexible elbows again. Then, I tell you all a little bit about Guinness' weird bare feet and how I keep him sound on them. After emptying my bank account to enter my August show, I write about recognized horse shows and why I chose to do them this year. Nancy comes out to the barn, and we start to move our focus past First Level and gaze towards Second. First, though, I manage to fall off of him for the first time in years when he spooks in the field. After my lesson I end up taking a surprise trip across the country for a family funeral, so I write about the Thoroughbred horse in dressage. They are quirky creatures.
My return from Washington comes just before my first show, and I stress that I'm not ready. However, it's too late to do anything and we head off to the horse park. Luckily, the first day of competition turns out wonderfully. I manage to slip into that beautiful state of active awareness and we score respectably in both classes. Of course, the second day doesn't work out so well, but I'm still overjoyed the whole experience.
After a successful show weekend, I decide to give Pig a little bit of a break. I decide to take the rest of the year to finesse First Level and start working toward Second. As September passes, I start to wear Guinness out on collection. He starts throwing mini fits whenever I ask for engagement. Finally, we have a come-to-Jesus ride where I tell him he's going to have to work, then we take some time off.
I trained hard, but with work in full swing didn't find a lot of time to write about it. We do get nominated for another award, and I write about it in November.
NovemberIt's clipping time for Guinness, and I take a stab at my first ever clipping design. The attempt is alright, though I mess up a little on the curves of the shape. I also talk about how I go about preparing for a clip job. I also drug Guinness for the first time to clip. As I really start working hard on Second Level, I try to eradicate my chair seat and move more forward with my horse. Just in time too, as Nancy really nails this point in my lesson. Along with my seat, Nancy and I work on finessing contact even more. She focuses on getting me not to pull, and I pass on her teaching.
As the weather starts to change, we go for long hacks and gallops in the harvested fields. I also talk a little bit about maintaining sanity, soundness, and health in the winter months. Dark evenings get me started working on new training bits of Second Level, like the rein back. Guinness gets stressed about backing, and I talk about my methods of training it. Finally, I talk about my instructor's suggestion to get bigger thigh blocks for my saddle to help me open my hips and keep my legs back. I find it interesting that saddle fit can actually have so much effect on the rider.
I start the month discussing the progress on training Guinness to reverse. The going is slow, but he's not stressed. His gaits are full of spring, and he's really seeming to thrive under the harder demands of Second Level. I'm really excited about this. But, of course, winter has to rear it's head and keep me from the barn (this is getting typical at this point!). So, I entertain you all with photos of my snow-dogs.
As December wraps up, I put in writing my thoughts on the shoulder-in. I realized it was the foundation movement for Second Level, and was really starting to get it. I start by talking about the shoulder-fore, and get around to the actual shoulder-in.
Whew! That was a long year!