I had my annual mega holiday a couple of weeks ago and so am back feeling refreshed and recharged which is good as we have a busy few weeks coming up. We've been cracking on with our training and Buddy has been going really well. Jane at Springwood Grange has been working minor miracles and keeping us on track with our aims of moving up the dressage ranks and I am thoroughly enjoying the whole process. Buddy seems to be thriving on the harder work and it's keeping his brain engaged although he throws in far more tricks and evasions every time to keep me and Jane on our toes! It's definitely not easy but its working wonders for my riding and adding new tools for me to use in the future.
|Lovely large stables|
|Stretching our legs|
Saturday was jumping day, we were booked into two sessions and I was nervous but excited. First session was pure SJ and Giles quickly had us jumping scary stuff! We put a new plan into place and so I had to keeping my hands forward and legs supporting but no squeezing, nudging or kicking allowed. The reason being that B will jump but he often is a bit panicky and so we want to change that process for him and by letting him figure it out himself it removes all the panic. For the first time ever we had relaxed jumping that wasn't strong or silly. It was also so much nicer for me to ride, instead of being left behind or in front of the movement we were together all the time. It felt brilliant. This continued into the XC style jumping in the afternoon and we just let B take his time, assess the situation and make the judgement. It's pretty unnerving coming into fences with zero leg but it worked so we went with it!! We had no stops and he ballooned in confidence over the two sessions and I couldn't wait to take him XC the next day.
I knew that the XC would be a big test for us both and probably more me than him. I have to learn to trust the new way of going and accept that he's going to go. We warmed up over a few fences and the new theory was working.. I really should trust Giles a bit more! As the questions got a bit more tricky I had to use a bit more leg but for the first time this just encouraged him forward in a positive way and the relaxation remained throughout. Its a completely new method for me and so I didn't get it right every time but when I did the feeling was amazing, he was taking me forward and felt really happy. He wasn't at all strong or trying to bog off and he was a delight to ride - I had a huge smile on my face whilst jumping.
This is not going to be an overnight fix and I am planning on spending as long as it takes to get him happy, relaxed and comfortable. He has all the talent but I want him to enjoy the work we do and not stress about it so we have made the decision to hold off eventing for a while as once we've got this bit sorted the only limit will be how brave I am ;o)
This weekend has proved that I have an amazingly talented but rather tricky horse who I just know is going to fulfill my wildest dreams and make me a much better rider. Thank you so much to all the people who are helping make it a reality as I could not do this on my own!