So we have a boarder committed to coming out to our barn - yay! I think she'll be a great fit when she finds her horse and moves in. I'm excited about it - it'll be nice to have someone to ride with, and she's got a great attitude. Another boarder might come board with us, but no commitment yet. I'm pretty pleased; more work for me = income! And healthier me, and income for the property owners, et cetera. The barn is, as always, a work in progress, but it's definitely workable and cool.
I took Apollo up to NT's yesterday, where we had a very fun, productive lesson. We didn't jump high at all - it was all about communication and adjustability in stride and gait. Apollo has been really stiff lately through his jaw, shoulder, and hip, so we worked hard on that by doing a lot of bending on circles before we started jumping, then asking for clear bend in the corners when jumping lines. Eventually, Apollo released, and we could move the focus to getting me to take the emergency brake off and encourage him to come on a bigger, freer stride.
I discovered that the key to coming through the course well was having Apollo round and engaged in the Very First Corner - which, of course, I knew intellectually but hadn't really learned physically. And then, after that first line, I needed to really swing my hips and allow him to keep cantering forward and freely instead of locking my seat up and putting that brake on. Finally, once we got the brake off, I felt like I was back in the place I was when I left Idaho. I felt like I had control and confidence and calm, despite Apollo shouting "Vive la resistance!" at every opportunity. Must, MUST go up much more often for lessons!!
Amusing: for a clinic with Sinead Halpin, the working students had set up a vertical with dressage letter cones under it. The cones spelled SPAM. No new phenomenon - at Aspen Farms, they often have a jump with their letters and spell ASPEN. :) So in K's lesson before mine, NT would say "okay, canter up the 3-stride cavaletti line, then the crossrail, then the vertical in the middle, then go all the way around and come up over SPAM." However ... when a friend of the barn, who has a wicked sense of humor, came out and watched for a bit, she rearranged the letters a bit and added R and M. For my lesson, I got "okay, canter up the 3-stride cavaletti line, then the crossrail, then the vertical in the middle, then go all the way around and come up over SPERM."
Apollo gave the cones a hard look on the first approach, much like he did in a lesson with Gary one summer, when he would. not. go. over. a vertical with black dressage-fence-pipe-holders under it. But this time, I just sat up, put my leg ON, and told him GO. And he went. :) SPERM ain't no thang, people.