I sooooo needed that too. I'm sooooo mad at work right now.... I think if I hadn't been able to get away to the horse show I would have quit. So... yay :) Feeling so much better now... It was a fabulous weekend!!!! Such fun friends and fun ponies and fun dogs..
So we got there Friday and worked on dressage. Beth totally gave me a new plan that really helped supple Fleck and unlock the resistance at the base of his neck. And it's so easy too. I had to leg yield him out, but to the point of throwing his shoulder out and almost overflexing his neck in. Like Kim was having me do awhile back... trot straight but have his head to the inside. Then once he was unlocked I could close the outside rein, touch him with my outside leg and bring him into the outside aids with my inside leg. I just have to remember that inside leg. It's all the same stuff everyone (including Beth) has been telling me all along but now I'm finally able to unlock his neck and shoulders first which then ALLOWS the rest to happen. Yay!! I can do it at the walk, trot, and canter. And she pointed out that what I felt was too much bend and flexion was proper bend and not nearly as much as I was thinking. :) So whoo hoo. We quit with that for the day.
Saturday was a super early day as my dressage was at 8:03. But Hannah and Jamie braided the night before for me and we put the slinky on Fleck. Hee hee.. I wasn't sure how it would work because I was afraid he'd rub all his hair out. But he was awesome... as usual, and the braids looked great in the am. I'm totally doing this from now on!! It'll save me some serious time in the am. So we got warmed up and Fleck felt great!! Our test was pretty darn good. I felt like he was a little.... not quite forward enough. It was a nice test, but we didn't go for brilliance. But that's okay. That arena is just tiny!! And like I said, it was a nice test. All 6 and 7's and one 8! Our halt probably would have been an 8 too but I screwed it up. Argh.. So we ended up with a 35. Not too shabby for us. I think that put us in 6th or 7th place of 9. Then we got ready for stadium and went and warmed up. Fleck was ALL FIRED UP!! Like bucking and hopping in place! He seriously couldn't wait for his turn! The course was tough but looked like a blast. A double and a triple!!! Whoo hooo. So we went in and we jumped the first four fences awesomely... Then as we landed off of fence 4a, which was the two stride... I felt him drift left.. and it crossed my mind that he was drifting and I just... sat there! And did nothing. So Fleck drifted past his spot and quit. Doh!! Bad Mommy! So I circled and he jumped it great that time but then I got flustered and let him get long and flat and I was all discombobulated up there. I resorted to high hands, pinching knee and getting by on a wing and a prayer. Fleck pretty much said "fine... if you aren't going to fix it... I'll just do it myself' and got us around the rest of the course with only one more rail. So... 8 points and 1 point in time were added to our score. Ugh.. Or more than that because we somehow ended up with 60 penalty points. Ugh.. I was so mad at myself... And Fleck was PISSED at me... he was prancy and bucky and just mad. So we went back to warm up to fix me and Fleck was still jumping great but I just couldn't get the hang of him. It was like he was so fired up that I wasn't putting my leg on because before I could even think go, he was already bouncing up into the canter and dragging me. And I KNOW I need leg, but.. my brain wouldn't do it. But we finally ended on a good note and quit to avoid punishing him. And then it was beer thirty!
We had a good time at dinner too and Fleck got a nice sunset graze after his good work that day. Sunday was a later day so we slept in a teeny bit. He was nice and happy with tight cool legs in the am so after his little walk, pee, and hosing off of poultice, I left him with alfalfa and went to go watch some of the prelim XC. I had walked the course Friday for fun and... man, it looked like FUN but also like a really tough course. And the ditch and wall was the fifth fence on course so I would have likely been eliminated or retired right there. But the rest looked fun. So anyways, I finally got to get ready and Fleck and I were ready to roll. He cracks me up. He was half asleep while I was tacking up but as soon as we hit warm up... I could hardly control him. We did a lot of cantering instead of walking and trotting... a lot of sideways movement instead of stopping or walking.. But.. with Beth's help I got it figured out. And HALLELUYAH! we figured him out!!! It's so simple, but for whatever reason I was finally able to put it all together. Beth said that he likes to lengthen as he gets closer but that it scares him and he doesn't like jumping from the long stride, so he shuffle steps and loses energy. So... she told me to shorten him to the jump but KEEP THE LEG ON!! If he gets there short, then perfect... if he gets there and I see the slightly longer distance, because he is short and balanced and bouncy, he's right there ready to move up to the longer distance. Aha!! And it seriously worked!! As long as I kept my leg on. I was able to manage the fire breathing dragon and he jumped like a boss! So we were ready!! We took a few minutes of walking (or attempting to walk) to let him catch his breath, then jumped one more and then another short breather and then it was our turn. He was ON!! I had to circle him around the start box because he was so fired up. He was bouncing... literally bouncing!! They were laughing at me at the start box. He was the VERY happy appy. He shot out of the box like a rocket and we were off. It was probably one of the most perfect XC courses we've had. He nailed every single fence. We were in sync over every single fence. I saw every single stride and was with him. And he was tearing it up between fences! It was SOOOOOOOOO much fun! I almost may have to just be a professional training level ammy. hee hee. It was a really fun course. He ate everything up and jumped everything with his big boy panties on. I'm soooo proud of him. And of me... I shortened him up to a nice bouncy energized gallop and we were just spot on! We made time easily despite me letting him take some slightly longer stretches but I knew we were right on our time because of the minute markers. I'm so freakin' proud of him!!!!
So we didn't add anything to our score but because of the horrid stadium, we stayed in 7th... out of 9. Although there were two eliminated in stadium, so.. we were last of the finishers. Ha! But that's okay... that XC ride would have been worth just about anything. SO MUCH FLECKEN FUN!!
I love my pony.... And I'm feeling SUPER confident for our redebut at prelim at FENCE. I honestly think that IF *I* could have ridden him that same way on the prelim course, he would have jumped around like a boss on that course too... ditch and wall included!!! BUT... I'm not sure I could have ridden him like that being more nervous on the prelim course. But he seriously felt super amazing!!!