Let me just say this first,
THE NEW BARN ROCKS!!!!!
This was seriously the best decision I’ve made in a long time and I feel like I’ve found my forever barn. The people are wonderful, there are other dressage peeps, the arena is huge with great footing, and the facilities are top notch without feeling cold and formal.
I had a great ride. Katai was speedy to start out but I feel like I’m starting to change hats from trainer to partner. Instead of feeling like everything she does is wrong and everything I do is right, which is the place of a trainer, I’ve started to add some flexibility and am more willing to accommodate things that aren’t directly related to bad behavior. At first, when she was more green, when she was speedy I felt like it was my responsibility to teach her not to be so speedy. Now, I’m figuring out how she works best and how to keep her relaxed and working as an athlete and a partner and that means that if we’re in a new arena and the only sign that she’s stressed is that she needs to go FORWARD I accommodate while working on other things for a little while.
Last night’s ride went like this.
I barely got my foot in the stirrup and Katai was off. I kept her walking on a loose rein, encouraging her to stretch down, but she was still rushy and fairly tight. After about 7-8 minutes passed I decided that rushy walk, even with lateral work, wasn’t having the intended effect and she was clearly warmed up enough that it was time to trot. I asked for a trot and got a big jump transition and then just held on for a couple of minutes. Usually, when we’re not in a new arena, as soon as she realizes that I’m not going to immediately go to the reins she slows and calms down a bit but she was frazzled last night in the new location (and of course mare went right into heat around the new horses). After a couple of minutes of FORWARD trot I started encouraging her to lower her head and stretch. After a little encouragement she would and then would blow out through her nose a couple of times before getting rushy again.
Wash, rinse, repeat (with a couple walk breaks that included a much better, stretchy relaxed walk).
Eventually, after a couple of changes of direction, she came back to herself enough to be more manageable and I got some really nice trot and walk. She was still a little fast but not as quick and she was relaxing into it with a nice stretch and more blowing as well as starting to listen to my seat. I walked her again for a few minutes so we could both get our breath back (I seriously need to start running again!) and then did some canter in each direction.
She usually does a great job cantering to the left and then swaps leads behind when we go to the right. She just has such a wonderful canter that as long as I get the correct leads in each direction I try not to drill especially with her lack of strength coming out of the last several weeks of light (ie nonexistent) work. I do need to start doing more canter and not just sticking to the 20 meter circle but I’ll increase that slowly as she gets stronger.
So, now that you know all about my ride here are pictures of the new facility! The cell phone pictures are from me and the professional ones were taken by the owners and borrowed by me from their Facebook page :-)