So. Bunch of things to catch up on, so I'll bullet them!
* The weekend of 4/30, I joined a cross-country clinic at our home barn, taught by MT. I was a little concerned at first, since it was our second jumping lesson of the year -- we'd had a jumping lesson that Thursday, but nothing else since December. So at first I was pretty nervous. Not so much that I'd do poorly, but that Rev would be spooky and squirrely out in the field. As it turned out, she was a little looky at first, and I was holding her in fairly tightly -- not really ideal for jumping, because we couldn't get much of an active trot! But once I relaxed some, we had much better jumps. Rev was a star. :) I shouldn't have worried so much. Sunday went better than Saturday, predictably, and I had a great time. :) I also love getting to ride with my friend Tara -- we're similar in a lot of ways, and we have such a good time talking and laughing and riding. I'm feeling a lot more confident about jumping in general, and more confident in my riding skill and Rev's steadiness. As TW put it, I have more motivation to stay on, and Rev has much less motivation to dump me. :) She commented that we've worked through the hardest part and are on to the more fun stuff now. Whee!
* Didn't have the world's greatest rides last week at all. I'm still working on getting consistent soft contact and getting Rev into a good outline. MT can do it fairly easily, of course, but it takes a lot more work for me. The best I do tends to be after we've been working for 20-30 minutes, and it always starts in the walk. I need to be able to keep good contact through transitions and in all gaits. I can do it fairly easily in the walk and canter, but it's harder in the trot, and hardest in transitions up. Of course, it's easiest to keep good contact when my balance is perfect: seatbones even, stirrups even, not gripping Rev's sides with my legs. And of course, this is the hardest thing for me to do. Looks like more practice is in order! And probably a rekindling of my relationship with my chiropractor, as my SI joint is giving me trouble again. ;)
* I need to figure out what MT means when he says to not use such clumsy leg aids. I sort of understand, but only sort of. *puzzle* I'm sure it'll help my transitions and my contact, but ... I need to figure out how to do it. Funny; one of MT's stories he tells is about the time he was in a clinic with a big-name trainer that he never names. Apparently the BNT told MT that he'd be a good rider if he ever figured out how to use his leg right. :) I suspect that's true for me too.
* I scribed for a big dressage show here this weekend. I always have a great time scribing -- I learn so much, and I love getting to see some really great dressage. :) This weekend I had two great judges who were not only knowledgeable and gracious, but also really fun and pleasant to work with. Both Judge Lowey and Judge Glass made a point of letting me watch some of the tests, even nudging me while writing and telling me to "look up! watch this!" when something was particularly good or illustrating a point they were making in just about everyone's tests.
Some of the things I took away from this show were about lengthened stride in canter and trot: think LONGER, not faster, and make the transitions between lengthened or medium stride and working stride very clear. Also, rein backs should have the horse's legs moving diagonally; one judge awarded a 9 for one person's RB. The stretching, of course, in both free walk and in the stretchy circles at the trot, is really important -- stretch, stride, and energy. The fastest way to tank a score is for your horse to break stride -- it's an automatic one point reduction, and if your horse is breaking, you're probably having problems to begin with, so it comes out to something like a 4. Yikes! Let's see ... what else ... don't cut corners. Balance and bend are critical. One thing I'd like to know is how to develop that good balance in a horse. I think Rev is pretty well balanced -- I think? Maybe? Shows my total ignorance about it. :) Must talk to TW about it one of these days. She's better at explanations, sometimes, than MT.
* Golden Spike entries are open. I'll get Rev's entry in around the 15th. Squee! Exciting! I'm very reluctantly holding off on trying to Make A Plan with MT and TW for getting there, where I'll stay (hotel?), and what I need to be prepared for when we get there. :) I don't want to over-plan, but ... this is an unfamiliar event! Must be prepared!! ;)
* I'll be actually RIDING in a Test of Choice night this month, instead of only scribing. :) I'll scribe as soon as I'm done, but it'll be good to ride. I definitely need to get my act together, because the first Event Derby is coming up in two weeks. Heh. Nothing like using already-developed knowledge and a prayer ... Nah, we'll be fine. :) I just need to ride a lot over the next couple of weeks to feel fully confident.
And that's all I have to say about that. For now. :)
* Ah ha -- I knew I'd have one more thing. :) I am having to resign myself to the reality that the coat I bought last year never did fit quite right. :/ It was okay, and I can get away with it, but honestly? I could use a size up. After watching some of the riders at the IDF this weekend and their too-small coats, I think I'd rather not be in those ranks. Seriously, far better to dress the size I am than the size I plan to be soon. So I'm in the market for a bigger, preferably dressage frock, coat. And some new breeches -- I'm enamored of the Kerrits Sit Tight Supreme Full Seats and the Kerrits Channel Rib Full Seats. Only full seat britches for this girl. :)