Sunday, March 20, 2011

Truckin' Along

Nothing too exciting to report.  Bastian and I are still plugging away trying to conquer and perfect the world of dressage.

I'm focusing again on riding every stride.  Being there to direct and work with Bastian so that our ride is smooth and wonderful.  I know, this is like riding 101, but it is soooooo hard to master.  I get caught up in the idea of "the ride's not right," and go to every solution in the book before I stop to think, "hmmmm, maybe he's not leg yielding left because I'm sitting right and don't have my legs where they should be." 
Magically though, when I fix those things and make sure I'm at least communicating the right signals, ta-da,  The ride improves. 

Speaking of leg yields, we've had a huge breakthrough there.  I never really focused on controlling different parts of Mr. B, I was just like leg on and go sideways brother.  Kristin finally got it through my silly head that I have to start with the shoulders.  Once I control the shoulders, then I can work on controlling the hind end and then bam, wonderful leg yields happen.   And our last couple of rides, our leg yields have been SOOOO much better.  I was just pushing the poor boy sideways, now we're moving our shoulders, moving the hind end and we are so much straighter.  I got it!  I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the new leg yield "pattern" in First Three.  You come off the wall and leg yield K to X, then ten meter circle left, then right, then leg yield back to the wall X to H. Its a lot happening in a short amount of time, but it actually rides fairly well once you get a ryhthm. 

Our lengthenings are better and worse.  It just seems to depend on the day.  I think I'm improving on riding them and again, when I keep myself on target Bastian does pretty well.  And because I like to play around with concepts that I don't fully understand, I'm trying to translate some of his lengthing into a medium trot and canter. 
I've got to get him moving better, more push from the back, more fluffyness through his back.  There are moments were I feel it, but its a matter of getting it on "cue" and maintaining it.

 Today was the first time I tried actually riding through one of my Para tests.  I got lost after the first 6 movements, lol!  But the first part actually rode well.  It involves collected trot, which I highly doubt we were actually doing, but we're going to pretend because he was soft and I was sitting his trot so at this point well take that as a "collected."  And I think a lot happens in First level!  Not only is there a lot of stuff happening in my Para test at random letters (counter canter D to M!) but its in a small arena. 

All I can say to that is yuck!  I'm a large arena diva, like a huge part of my wants to protest the eventing world because they ride in a small arena.  There just isn't room to get anything done, you get started on a lengthen and bam, your at the next letter.  Yes, I'm griping.  I don't see what the big deal would be to offer the tests in a large arena, but then I'm not a big whig who's in charge so I only see my point of view. 

For the record, I do agree with putting Intro A, B, and C in a small arena,  that is a lot of trotting and a lot of walking.  A lot of walking.....

Of course, things continue to change in regards to my show schedule.  April 2nd is a possible Hunter Show.  We *might* be showing in the 2' Limit Rider division.  I really hope so, I want to show so bad!  I miss it!  

Then there is the possibility of a Dressage Schooling Show May 7th at Grand Haven.  I want to go to this one not only to show but to get to run through the new tests before I pay 10x as much at a recognized show.  

Majestic Farm took their Para classes of the Prizelist, but they had added an awesome Thoroughbred TOC class with $$$$$$.  But since I'm 99% sure I'm switching regions again (moving to region 8!), there isn't a real reason to make sure I get to Majestic Farms and its far far cheaper to show closer to home.  So I'm now aiming for the WPDA and Grand Haven shows at the beginning of June.  As long as I can get my qualifying scores I don't have to show recognized again until September for Regionals and the Para-Equestrian Championships held in NY at Saugerities.  Which looks like an awesome show grounds (they have their own mall!  On the showgrounds!!). 

So thats the new plan.. now back to work for me so I can afford this rather expensive hobby of mine... and did I mention that B pulled a shoe again on Thursday.  (actually Cindy pulled it, B just got it loose...)