I think my life's calmed down enough now that I can focus on more than one thing at a time. Annie the dog is still not well, but we're closer than we were, and I'm no longer so stressed I don't know what day it is or what I'm doing. I think I can pick this blogging thing back up now.
Next Wednesday, I'm entered in a little, friendly, casual Test of Choice night. Basically, you pay $10 to ride a dressage test for a judge, just to kind of get a gauge on how you're doing, practice a test that isn't ready for prime-time, practice a test you'll have to perform for real in the near future, work the kinks out of a test, yknow ... whatever. No pressure, no ribbons, no competition. This is really nice, because it forces riders (me) to get out and DO something. Just ... try it.
This time, I'm riding Intro A -- again -- and I've gone ahead and decided to take the step to the next level and try Training 1. This is the perfect forum for me to do that, and up until yesterday's ride, I was pretty damn sure it would go okay.
I have to confess: last week, I didn't ride during the week at all. :/ What with Annie's vet appointments in the middle of the day, I ended up having to work late every day, and when I did get home, I was absolutely wrecked. Stress, lack of sleep, nausea due to stress ... the whole nine yards. I rode on the weekend days, and Reveille was fine. Good, even. I felt like we could go ahead and make that jump to prime-time canter transitions, even if they weren't perfect.
Tuesday, I longed her for about an hour. I'd intended to ride, but when we were working on the line in the side reins, she just seemed to need some intensive work. So that's what we did. We worked on energetic trot, bending to the inside, working over her back, prompt transitions, and generally worked quite intensely. I let her rest on Wednesday, seeing as I had to work late anyway, and then went to ride yesterday.
That was the worst ride I've had in ... weeks? Months? She. Was. TERRIBLE. Flailing her head, fishtailing around, not moving forward, counterbending ... gah. All the things we've been working on and had made so much progress on ... gone.
At one point, I actually got off, put her back on the longe line, and basically pressed the GO button. When I got back on, she was better, but she didn't make it out of the TERRIBLE zone until the end of the ride, when I finally got her moving forward into a good trot and a little bit of canter. I decided I wouldn't be picky about the bend or the head position, as long as she went forward. UGH. I really hope that tonight's ride is significantly better.
Some things I'm going to change are:
* Stretch carefully before I get on. I think I was stiff and tense, and that doesn't make for a good ride.
* Just hop on her, without longing her, tonight. She got enough work last night that I won't be in any danger, and I think getting on without longing sometimes helps a lot.
* Use MT's spurs, as he'd offered to let me do, instead of the working student's pair. His are a bit longer than her Tom Thumb set, and I think that helps.
* Focus hard on a soft, elastic contact.
* Comfortable, relaxed warmup, more than usual -- as much for me as for her.
I think that should help me AND her. I suspect my balance was way off, my weight aids were scrambled ... et cetera. I "talked" to Rev about the ride, apologized for my being all screwy, and asked her to please work with me instead of against me, because it'll be better for both of us. :) Here's hoping she learned the power of human speech overnight. *grin*
I think having her in half training was incredibly beneficial, and I'd like to start it up again in May. (April's out, due to Rolex and the need to be gone for something like two weeks or more) While MT and family are gone, though, I have absolutely got to ride her at least four or five days a week if I want her to progress.
I really want to get to jumping soonSoonSOON ... I don't want to miss out on this first Derby. I'm so. freaking. tired. of doing the ground poles class -- even though we will, if we need to, because the show experience is good for her and me. So I have to keep her together and get myself going. I probably ought to ask MT what exactly I need to do to be ready to start jumping, in his opinion. I'm a little nervous that the answer will be "consistency." Not only the hobgoblin of small minds -- it's the hobgoblin of little bay mare and little chubby girl pairs, too.
We'll see. Meanwhile, excelsior.