Improvement – and work to do!

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My favourite moment from our test. This was a few strides before our canter transition – where we actually had a little impulsion!

Last night we attempted the Training Level test. There were some parts I really liked, but overall there is a lot of work needed! I have a video of it, but I don’t know whether I will both uploading and sharing to YouTube then here – it’s pretty terrible! The start is horrible as we had just had a long walk break before and literally just got into things. Things sort of peak before our first canter, and then go downhill when we’re attempting to pick up our second canter and the corner suddenly turns into a scary horse-eating monster! Beware!

In any case, after watching this video I can see a lot of things that I need to work on:

1. Impulsion… too slow, not enough oomph from behind. That being said, I really like the few trot strides right before the canter.

2. Too stiff – things were particularly bad last night because I had just gone for my first run in two months (my longest running break in several years!). I was a lot sorer than expected after and it definitely showed here. However, at the best of times I’m not a super fluid person, so I think doing some no-stirrups work and yoga might help in that department.

3. Need to improve my canter and get it more coming from behind and round. I need to find the right balance between half halt and not breaking for this to work. However, we’ve mostly been cantering large so I was happy that we got a few nice 20 metre circles tonight in both directions. The left is much easier for him though so I need to really work on my right circles.

The difficulties that we had with this test really made me re-think whether or not I ought to strive for First Level or not. I think the 10 metre circles, leg yields, extensions, etc., would be fun, and are doable, but maybe it’s best to focus on Training for now and we’ll see where we are in two months when the first show happens. I guess it’s always better to show lower and do really well. Although, I do like to be challenged and have shown Training many times before (albeit never at the provincial level). Thoughts anyone?

Anyway, I should probably make a quick list of things that went right tonight:

1. Nice circles, hit our marks.

2. More impulsion than usual in the earlier part of our lesson.

3. Upward transitions are improving (both to trot and to canter).

4. We had an amazing square halt at the end of our test that I loved – also our centre lines were not horrible, although more impulsion will probably improve the straightness more.

I may still post the video over the next few days in order to try and hopefully get some feedback from any visitors. If I do, keep in mind I know this video isn’t great though and that we are capable of more! I just want to honestly record our journey so that I can (hopefully happily!) compare our progress in a few months’ time.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy riding!

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