I had a pretty busy week with a dressage clinic and Seneca on Saturday. I took both boys to see Debbie Bowman on Thursday. I used to work with her almost once a month when I had Sam and my Hanoverian mare Palais, but she’s only seen Oh So a few times when I first got him.
We worked on some trot lengthenings and canter lengthenings as they come in Training test A. She was also insistent that I keep him from falling in to the left and really making him bend around my inside leg. We also worked on some halts and she had me exhale as I came into them which helped. I utilized that this weekend at Seneca and had a less fussy halt. I think the halts will come better when I can sit the whole test though.
With Sam, he started out a bit distracted and stiff. It was understandable though because he hasn’t been out in awhile. I sat the trot most of the lesson and we worked on making him keep the contact in medium walk. I definitely realized how much I need to work on medium walk to free walk to medium walk. We also did some leg yields from the center line in walk, but made the angle less so I could really work on getting him into the outside rein, not just the lateral movement. He improved by the end, but it was still a tough ride.
Saturday was Seneca. I had a later dressage time at 12:30. I allowed 45 minutes for warmup and he felt good. He got a little distracted by the prelim cross-country, but I got him back. They were running about 20 minutes behind, so I felt like I was out there forever. We were both hot and tired. The test was relaxed, but the judge still wasn’t very positive. She gave us a 4 for our stretchy circle because he dropped the contact a bit. I thought we’d at least get a 6 for effort. I’m still not going enough in the canter lengthening because he tends to put in haunches in to the right on the long-side. We ended up with a 36 to sit in fourth.
The show jumping course was quite twisty, but mostly left-handed which was to our advantage since I tend to duck right and he doesn’t get the right lead all the time. But we got all of our leads this time. He was a bit strong in warmup, but once were were in the ring, we had a decent round. We had a rail at 7 which was an oxer five strides away from a vertical. I think I came a bit forward with my upper body and he got a little close, so we had the front rail down.
The cross-country wasn’t anything to huge. There was a nice bending line at 4, a real corner, and a coffin in the woods. Everything else was just single fences. I was feeling the heat at that point, so I think I wasn’t riding as tightly as I could have. We definitely had the pace, almost prelim speed, but I could feel myself holding too much to some jumps and getting a bit close. I needed to bring my upper body more centered on the gallops between fences and that would have helped the approach.
We ended up in second place. Now we’ve got three weeks until MD Horse Trials. I’m working at Surefire this weekend and might have some time next weekend to take Sam for a little cross-country school. I’m also going to enter him in a couple of dressage shows this month.