Sometimes things just seem to go your way. The last few days have been that way for me. Not to brag or anything, but really, it’s been pretty awesome if I do say so myself. So why exactly has life been so good? I’m glad you asked!
We had a dressage show on Saturday, and I started off very tense and stressed and had a bit of a rough time. However, I had gotten some help in the form of eyes on the ground and some instruction in riding my tests correctly (Oh, you mean the curving line in the canter in First level Test 4 is supposed to be bending in the direction of your lead, not changing bend like a nice hunter line!?) so I did my best to just chill and quickly get past it. It must have worked, because though we were tense on our first test, First Level, test 1, we got more relaxed as the test went on and it wasn’t awful. Our next test, First Level, test 2, was even better, but still needed more relaxation, but overall I was happy because we got some trot lengthen, some canter lengthen, and decent leg yields, which those three things have been to some extent the bane of our tests from day one. Though I should remind myself that day one wasn’t that long ago. I rode my first Dressage test on Strider in August. His leg yields, though gorgeous as far as crossover, have a tendency to be overbent and they were much better on that this time. So, a little more relaxed and getting happier by the minute, we moved on to First Level, test 4. This was our first attempt at it in a show, and only our second time riding through the whole test as I hadn’t been able to memorize it and hadn’t had anyone available to read for me. It was amazing!! It would have been our best score of the day, and as it is it was close, if we hadn’t had a jig in our free walk. I have to say having a jig in the free walk is super weird for Strider too, but overall I was still very happy. After our test the judge told me she thought I was doing a good job riding a “difficult horse.” Though I disagree with that characterization of Strider, I appreciated the comment very much especially as she had not been as complimentary to some of the other riders in my level and above. I was super excited! Our scores, though still not at my goal of consistently above 60% are getting more consistent and much closer to that level. I am very interested to see how we do at the show on September 19th after some lessons.
On that note, the next exciting thing that happened was I got a lesson! Jo, from the Tapestry Institute (http://www.tapestryinstitute.org/horsehuman/riding.html), came out to my barn to give me a lesson and I had a great time. She really worked on my position and helped me to relax and breathe, (You mean I should breathe more than once every ten minutes when I ride? What a novel concept!) and I could feel the difference it made in Strider’s movement and suppleness in even just a few minutes. It’s not magic, and I may not agree with everything Jo believes, but I appreciate that her goals for the horse and rider are to work as an effective team and she really needed all the help it could get! I hope I can get more lessons in with her as I think it will help Strider and I in the suppleness and relaxation element that I struggle with so much.
I also sold my boots that I hate, loathe, and despise. Don’t get me wrong- they are not bad boots; they were amazing and they are the closest boots I have ever had to fitting me. But, they were not very comfortable, especially not after I lost 50 pounds and my claves shrunk. So, I sold them to someone who needed them fairly badly for RMDS Championships as her boots were not comfortable for her and were not broken in. These should be far more comfortable for her and are somewhat broken in. I now can go on the hunt for boots that actually fit me. Weird. The amazing thing is I hadn’t even put my boots for sale. Now if only I can sell my two extra saddles that way!
But for now I am basking in the glory of good things and remembering how wonderful it felt when Strider really relaxed and loosened up….I love good rides! I can’t wait to get out and ride tonight! Until next time: RAWR!