I've spent the last week practising so I am ready for Mattingley tomorrow. It's not just the physical preperation but for me, the mental preperation is just as important. I must have a routine to follow, feel confident that I have asked Buddy each question before and that we are as ready as we can be. I have a new process to follow when jumping so I am confident that I have the tools to get us around clear. I know that should we have a stop it will be because I did not prepare in the right way and ride the question. I know what I have to do to succeed.
For me the dressage is the first hurdle to accomplish. I must ride and not just sit there letting things happen to me. I need to make adjustments continually to ensure that we deliver the best picture to the judge and I must relax and enjoy it! I have had two lessons this week to prepare - our session on Sunday was good, we focused on circles as for some reason my circle riding ability has disappeared recently (diamonds, eggs, hexagons I've nailed) and there are half circles in the test I need to ride and I wasn't really getting a smooth picture on my own. The session started with getting suppleness and flexibility and then controlling the left shoulder which bulges out on the right rein and falls in on the left so I have to ride each rein differently. The start of this is to get him consistent in the outside rein which really helps me to control the shoulder with minimal adjustments. By the time the session was over we we nailing the half circles and I was really pleased with him.
He had the day off on Monday and then I decided to jump him over scary stuff on Tuesday night. I found a bit of bright blue tarpaulin that I put under a tiddly jump (as I knew he'd go boogly eyed at it) and a couple of fillers under some bigger fences (90-100) to get my eye in and make everything seem tiddly on Sunday! Well despite knowing B would baulk at the tarpaulin I did not sit far back enough the first time and found myself looking up and B from the sand! Doh. After giving myself a suitable telling off and realising I obviously wasn't sitting far enough back ;o) I came round again. Yes he jumped it like a lion had jumped up and bit him (and continued to do so until the 5th jump) but he went. As a cooldown we took the pole away and walked over it a few times, the first time he looked and jumped it but the next time he was much better and gradually was walking over it quite relaxed. He was worried about it (normally he's just naughty and takes advantage) but he still went so it was a fantastic learning session for both of us.
We schooled on Weds, practising the lessons from Sunday and I had bought a new bit (jefferies harmony) which he really seems to like so I wanted to test that out too. He was super, I was really pleased with him. He had a well deserved day off on Thursday and then a lesson on Friday. The aim was to sharpen him up ready for Sunday and just make sure the basics are there. We worked on our warm up - walking round on a long rein but not just wibbling around, making sure that shoulder is under control, 10m and 20m circles into more of a contact to manage the shoulder and establish theflexibility and suppleness, changing the bend in the neck so he doesn't block me, counter flexion on the right rein so I can start to the ride him straighter. Then into trot, circles again to check the shoulder, on and back in trot to get him off my leg. Canter keeping the outside rein, I must not hang on, keep control of the shoulders - especially on a circle - half halting with the outside rein to keep control. Not much to remember!!
We ran through the test and I was really pleased with the improvement. I just need to make sure I ride it and we will do a fabulous test #positivethinking