This weekend was truly enjoyable, since it including 2-days of dressage shows to watch, which by some miracle the BF not only joined me for, but enjoyed too!
Somehow, my camera was working properly this morning, and all of last night's pictures were saved! Unfortunately, the battery died during today's competitions, so I haven't pictures from them. And my camera cord is at work, so Tueday will be a photo-only day! I promise, no text on Tuesday!
After watching today's competition, we stopped by a very special horse for me (Sweet B) and visited with her owner, K. K is a very talented, hard working rider, who manages to squeeze it all in, even with two young children under the age of 3, a pony, and two riding horses (B, an 11 year old OTTB, and Hunter, an older retirey, with all the talent and experience in the world). She's been working crazy hard to get show ready this year, and after a dissapointing first show with B, came back to give it another go.
Well, she had a bunch of first place ribbons from this weekend, and improving dressage scores, so a total success! And a B that finally settled down and made herself a true show horse.
So talking with K, I really started looking forward to being in the shows with her next year. B is such an awesome horse, and K is such a kind-hearted, fun person to ride with, that I just think it'd be a blast. And it's always nice to find someone in a similar spot as you, wanting to do this 'dressage' thing, and having to work hard at home learning it. : )
This evening, inspired by the people I saw, met and spoke with, I drove out the barn to work with Moon. I also took 2 hours and sewed up a new fly sheet complete with belly-band for him, which he's wearing as we speak...here's hoping it stays on better then his fly mask!
T was having a lesson in the arena, so I thought I'd finally saddle up and work in the grassy area in front of the tack shed. Hmmm. I wonder how today would go?
Not feeling rushed, and knowing EXACTLY what I wanted out of this evening (to actually do walk-trot with connection and bend), we started warming up.
It was nice to not be hurried. We worked on it, and worked on it, and I tried to focus and feel for what I wanted. Heck, I even stopped and did the little 1-arm salute to the 'judges' I imagined!
Moon just came together for me. We did 3-loop serpentines and leg-yields and figure 8's, and he actually gave me contact, held it, AND we swapped from one bend to the other very nicely at a walk.
I put him into a trot on the circle, and there too, to the left, he was moving wonderfully. I was so proud! I was doing it, alone, at home and I think successfully!
Going right, he started to fall apart, come in on the circle, try to throw his shoulder and didn't want to bend. He'd also toss his head any time I asked for a transition to trot.
So I said to myself "Just be patient. It's there. Look for it".
And we circled, and transitioned, and I kept asking.
Moon grunted, and popped his head up and shook it, and thrust his head down.
So I followed with my hands, moved him, manipulated him, and kept trying. I didn't want to ONLY be successful in Coach W's arena. I didn't want to only be able to get him accepting the bit AFTER W's ridden him. I want our own success. I want to be able to walk him into that show ring next spring, and say "THIS is us. THIS is what we can do".
And then he found it. He gave me contact, he kept his head low, he chewed the bit and was licking, and he moved as I asked, and it was wonderful. It was like our wonderful moments in W's ring, just at home. Just without W there to yell out things I should be doing. I was just feeling it, and riding it.
I was THIRLLED.
Perfect square halt, and I dismounted. Even from the ground he'd flex when I touched the bit, and lower his head when I touched his poll. The best I could have asked for.
It's been proven to me now, that with Moon, consistent, regular work is the KEY to his performance. He's been ridden Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and now Sunday, and I have the most responsive horse yet. Yup, guess we're riding every day next week! : )
Do you know what made it even more special? T came up to me after to say that her coach had been watching us work and commented on how well he was listening and how nicely connected we were!! And how much he was chewing and *thinking* about what I was asking of him!!! Whooppiee! It wasn't just in my head! : )
T also said she can totally picture me and Moon'er in the ring next year competing, and is so happy for us. Yip, he's my special boy!