Today I was able to convince Jin to come out and take pictures of me riding so that I would be able to evaluate my progress and see what I need to keep working on. Yay!
It was really hot by the time we were able to get out to the barn and I honestly didn't really want to ride, but I have a busy weekend plan so riding had to happen today.
First, I fetched Victor and gave him a free lunge. He was a ball of wild energy! He bucked three times, jumped a 2 ft vertical, and cantered around for probably five minutes straight. It was good to see this because it means that he is feeling less sore.
After free lunging, I tacked him up and we headed back out to the outdoor arena. We did our boring 10 minutes of walking, then I asked him to trot and he thought about giving a little buck but decided against it. We then trotted around for 6 minutes and then we were done. It was a mellow ride and Victor was well-behaved. I want to work on more complicated things with Victor (like medium-sized circles), but some days he is just too stiff in the back to do anything other than trot in a straight line.
|More trotting action|
|He's so cute and cuddly|
After riding Victor, I sponged him off (there was a line to use the bath station). Then I threw him out in pasture and grabbed Casey.
While I was tacking Casey up I discovered that she has learned a new (annoying) trick. I keep her horse treats in a big plastic containers. The mare has apparently figured out that this plastic container contains the yummies and so she kept trying to get into it. Sometimes I think she is too smart for her own good. Finally, we were ready to ride and Casey was very sad to leave the treat container.
Casey was very good for the walk and trot portion of our ride. She wasn't being crazy or tugging on the reins and so I got my hopes up that it would be another perfect ride...
|Calm trotting Casey|
And then I asked for a canter and everything when downhill. She just couldn't seem to focus on what we were doing. She was leaning on the bit, speeding around corners, pinning her ears and lunging forward every time we passed poor Leigh, and flailing her way around circles. Too be fair, even with all of this going on, she was still much more balanced and controlled than she was two weeks ago, but it was frustrating to ride. Part of the problem was that my head just wasn't in the right space either. I was hot and it was a terrible idea to eat nachos right before riding in the heat....
|Left-lead canter = thumbs up!|
|Right-lead canter needs more work|
|Butt needs to come back more|
|Need to get my heels beneath me|
|Looking halfway decent here|
Looking at the rest of the photos, I do see improvement in both Casey and me. We are both looking more balanced and relaxed. I was excited to see that in the canter, my leg mostly stayed beneath me. Also I'm getting better about keeping my shoulders back and back straight. I need to work on my hands (they are too close together at the canter), getting my back even straighter, and more heels down. Casey needs to work more on staying balanced in her right-lead canter (it's obvious even in photos that it is her weaker canter lead).
|Too far out of the saddle|
|Crazy, but sweet|
My trainer told me today that in a month she will be putting on a local show (or maybe just a schooling show) and that she thinks that Casey and I should do at least a few classes. I don't know if we will be able to improve enough in a month to be able to be successful at a show, but it gives us a good goal to work towards!