Growing pains

We've come a long way from this track photo taken in 2007.

Now that we’re about 3/4 of the way through our 2011 season, I thought I’d do a quick self-analysis of where I think Oh So and I are at. This is our second year of training and it’s taken me all that time to finally let some things go (especially in the competition ring) and soften to the jumps, keep our pace up, and not throw my upper body on takeoff. Those main issues are greatly improved, I think, but being the perfectionist I am, I still have a long way to go. Just looking at our videos from earlier this year and then our most recent competition, I can see the difference the most in Oh So. His form is getting better, he’s less fussy between the jumps, and he’s soft on takeoff and not running on landing. His dressage has improved too. He’s now very consistent when we go to shows and settles right in when we get there.

Now that we’re schooling prelim things, I’ve lost a bit of confidence in myself. I haven’t ridden at that level since 2006/2007 with Sam. He was a made horse with lots of experience, so I think that allowed me to be more courageous. With Oh So, I know he’ll jump whatever I point him at, but I now have to take some more responsibility showing him the way at the higher level. My biggest issue is keeping the pace in the show jumping. We had a tough lesson this week. When the jumps go up, I freak out. I have to learn to let go and let him go to the jumps and not always look for a spot. My trainer reminded me that we went through the same thing when we moved Oh So up to training level. She said sometimes it will be ugly, but that’s part of the learning process. It’s hard for me to handle that reality, but I’ve got to do it. Part of me thinks we should just go and do it at Lexington. I know we’ll be fine cross-country, but the rational side of me says that of course we have to school prelim height fences at home. So for now, I’m going to be practicing the pace I need in the ring at home just over poles. We’ll school the bigger fences in lessons. We’re doing three more trainings and then tentatively prelim at Lexington. This weekend is Middleburg. It’s a two day and it looks like it’s going to be wet unfortunately.

Sam has been quite off this week, so I made an appointment at Morven for next week. I’m guessing it’s hocks and hopefully all he’ll need is injections.

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