Well guys, I'm back. A few weeks ago, my grandmother came extremely close to dying from a freak heart emergency. I really appreciate all of your comments and concern while I ran off to help my family get things settled back at home. We are a stereotypical huge loud family, and it was great to see how everyone pitched in to help. My grandmother is miraculously doing okay now, and may actually end up coming home from the hospital soon. Her recovery has really been amazing.
|Here's a picture of a supremely happy husky to lighten the mood ...|
Unfortunately, running back and forth across the state repeatedly and missing a ton of sleep hasn't done any favors for my person, professional or equine life. Things are finally getting sorted, but for awhile there I felt like I'd been hit by a truck full of bricks. Bah. I have managed to get out and ride, but my normal 5 rides a week have been cut to two in the last few weeks. Luckily, Guinness and I were at a good place in training when all this happened and the break has at worst caused us to review more than move forward. It could be much worse.
So, in an effort to get life chugging forward again, let's get on with April goals and leave March behind!
1. Increase the quality of our canter. Go braver and bigger in our medium, and more engaged and connected in our collected.
Totally nailed this. I spent a lot of time at the canter at the start and middle of the month. The counter canter is still beautiful, the collected is getting smaller and springier, and the medium is getting straighter. Overall, this horse has it made in the canter.
2. Improve canter/walk and walk/canter transitions. They need to be smoother, and more relaxed. But, they also need to be more prompt. I think this might be a strength issue, and a "butt in seat" issue.
Pretty sure this was both a collection issue and a "butt in seat" issue, both of which are clearly related. We've made huge strides in this area, especially in keeping the transitions prompt and active but low on tension. Keeping my legs on really seems to be key. I'll have to write more on this. For now, let's call it a success.
3. Work the medium trot. I need to practice lengthening my leg and sinking into my seat while still asking for the lengthening of the gait with my seat. Might need to do some yoga to open those hip flexors more. Guinness will need work to hold the medium longer across the diagonal, once I learn to sit it properly.
Partial success. My seat has improved leaps and bounds from February (I need to get video to verify, but I FEEL much more secure, upright, and plugged into the saddle.). The medium trot is still not where I think it should be, but I think I'm being hard on myself. I want a big Grand Prix trot, but Guinness isn't capable of that right now. And, I can't ride it. I still haven't come to terms with this completely.
4. Run through 1st 2, video. Run through 2nd 1 again. Compare video.
Noooooooope. Big no. Did not do. Negative good buddy.
5. Start working on the haunches-in.
Yes! This has been a huge breakthrough in the last couple of weeks. I've been introducing travers and renvers, and a touch of half pass. These are still very much in the "new to us" and "reward just two steps of each" stage, but they have amazingly improved other things, like leg yields.
6. Explore turn on the haunches.
Oh, I explored it. No conquering, though. Pretty sure I'm going to need to get better at #5 before this gets really good.
Personal March Goals
1. Increase running mileage to 15 miles per week.
Boom! I've been running solid 15 mile weeks for the last three weeks now. Easy, like pie! (*cough* not really)
2. Turn in a respectable time at a 5k (I'm looking at running sub 28:00).
I ended up not running my 5k this month, but from my training session feedback I'd say I'm right on track. Monday I ran 4.19 miles in 39.50. Three weeks ago, I ran 3 miles (just under a 5k) in 27:23. Let's list these as "Things I Am Proud Of" and move on.
3. Get all memberships in order for show season.
Donezo! Sure I'm broke now, but at least we're good to show!
1. Really refine First 3 and Second 1. Run through them a few times and video at least once before the schooling show at the end of the month. Figure out where the points are, and how we are best suited to go after them.
2. Amp up the pressure during the first half of the month. Really focus on quality of gaits and transitions, and keeping consistent connection. Need to push more movements together, and great a little stress so Guinness and I find riding tests almost easy when we get to them.
3. Keep working on renvers/travers. Try to get a thorough understanding of them, and reliably get a few steps without tension.
4. Have a good experience at the schooling show. Focus on relaxation and clear communication. Keep myself focused and riding every moment of the test, not letting the test ride me. Aiming for upper 60s at First and lower 60s at Second. Scores are secondary to good productive rides.
5. Continue to develop the medium trot.
6. Master the french braided forelock (and have fabulous show turnout all wrapped up).
Personal April Goals
|Second attempt at braiding a forelock. Dry hair, winter wispies, and a beginner technique make things tough!|
1. Run a 7 miler!
2. Keep weekly mileage at 15 miles or higher.
3. Get cracking on personal projects that have been languishing for the last month.