With a horse like Theo, it's a bit of a balancing act to get him ready. It's a very small window between feeling good and telling me to get the hell away from him. He's not a horse that drills well, but he'll also lose fitness at the drop of a hat. He's gained weight after the ridiculous heat that kept us at the walk for days. He needs to be in full work, but I need to carefully balance his mental state so when we arrive in New York, he's physically and mentally ready to roll.
At this point, strength and fitness are pretty much where they're going to be. We've got some ground to make up with the heat abating, but it's too late to pack on much more muscle. Now it's time to just add on some finesse and make damn sure I have the right tests memorized. I'll never live it down if I get an error on T3.
Oyster River Dressage Show, August 2016
My gods I'm almost level across my shoulders!
We also have some work to do to get us ready to fumble our way through F3. Our lengthens are starting to become an actual thing, but it's inconsistent right now. I do better if I sit the trot, but Theo is still learning that sitting the trot does not automatically mean canter. Trainer A has been setting up poles to add in some muscle memory. I bump twice, lean back, and let the poles make sure he properly lengthens. We've had some lovely passes. We've also had some passes where he falls on his face and runs, but that's kind of expected right now. We also have that leg yield pattern that will be rough. Our change of lead through the trot should be very shiny. We were jumping on a figure eight yesterday and our changes in both direction are down to about a step of trot. Clearly not a flying change, but a very prompt simple change. I'll be focusing on getting an extra step of trot in there so we don't accidentally pull a flying change.
But at the same time, I need to nail down T3. I haven't ridden that test in months at this point. I'm less worried about him memorizing stuff now that he is doing so many different tests, so time for a couple run throughs.
I also need to go shopping. As much as I like my coat, I think I need a formal dressage coat for this outing.
GMHA, June 2016 with one tired pony
Just now realizing my coat and saddle pad clash
Charcoal grey hunter coat doesn't seem formal enough for the occasion. I want something in black with a contrasting collar or piping. I'll go hit Dover soon, see what they have. And possibly a new saddle pad. I love my black pad with crystals, but you can't beat brand new bright white for a show. Especially on a dark bay.
Speaking of dark bay, he also needs his mane pulled, his tail maintained, and at least one bath with quick black. The flies have died down so he's out of his fly sheet. He's fading to a chocolate brown with dapples, which is lovely, but now I have to make sure he doesn't turn orange. Or get too fuzzy. He's shedding his summer coat already. Ugh.
I'm alternating between excitement and shock that this is here already and trepidation. Less trepidation when I remind myself we're only doing Training level and we'll be just fine. More trepidation when I think of what a big to-do this show is. But there's a bar, so we'll be fine.