When I am on vacation I usually stay away from the computer. That means I fell behind in my blogging. Last week I had the week off. I started it out by taking Jimmy to a dressage show in June 25th. We competed in First 4 and Second 1. The First 4 ride was going well and I felt good about it -- until I realized I had just cantered Jimmy on the wrong lead for 3 movements! Aaargh! He never does that! Aaargh, aaargh!! So I was marked with a 1 for all 3 movements. Took my score down to 52%. Well, I can hardly be mad since it was my stupid mistake. I just wasn't riding the test the way I should. It was a learning moment. It was better news for my Second 1 ride. I knew we wouldn't be perfect with this ride as I still had 2 trouble areas -- the simple change through the walk and my shoulder-ins becoming neck-ins. I rode the test well enough to get a qualifying score, 60%! I got 4s on my simple changes, and deservedly so. But I got some decent scores the rest of the test. My shoulder-ins were a bit abrupt so those were maybe 5s (I don't remember exactly), but I started the test off with an 8 for my halt, salute! I'll ride both of these tests again in August and hopefully receive high 60s or even 70s.
Since Zoe broke her side reins and I haven't ordered new ones yet, my work with her has been on the light side. This past week was also terribly hot and humid and really hard to get good riding in. I tended to ride Jimmy in the morning first and by the time I finished with him it was too humid to do anything more except my chores. One day was so hot I don't think I even left the house. That was a boring day. I did ride Zoe one time on Thursday and that was an interesting ride. I lunged her (w/o side reins) and then rode. She was fine for walk and trot. When I asked for canter she started bucking all around and going out of the arena into the grass. We just bucked around and around, but as long as we were going forward, we kept going. Finally she stopped bucking and we did some nice trot work. All in all it was about 15 minutes, but it sure was exciting. Okay, not exactly how I planned the ride to go. Thankfully I had a good seat because no one was around at the barn and it would have been bad for me to get hurt. She didn't get me off her back.
July 1-3 I went down to Kentucky to help my friend with her horse. She has been doing an amazing job since I was there last month. She started lunging with side reins and doing stretches for the horse. A wonderful difference. Ellie was soft and supple at the trot and MG was doing so well getting her to relax and use her back. I had her start adding in some canter. Ellie has been going for years on the trail where it is only necessary to balance on a straight line. A few months ago she couldn't even balance on the circle at a trot, so you can see she is re-learning how to balance in all of her gaits. Therefore, the cantering on the circle is not easy for her at all. On the lunge she wants to trot faster and faster and is reluctant to take her canter depart. MG has to work at using half-halts to slow her down and puch her into the canter at the same time. Usually Ellie loses her mind about this point. But with patience she is able to do it. When MG is on her back, Ellie has the same tendency. She tends to ignore the canter signal and chooses to trot rapidly instead. MG has some really good canter departs to the left that lasted 1-2 steps of canter and fell back to trot. When we changed direction, Ellie wouldn't even try to canter, and this was supposed to be her good side. MG had to work until Ellie actually responded to the canter aid by cantering. She worked at it for a long time. Finally, I had her go along the straight side and ask for it on the long line instead of on the circle. She eeked out a canter that way, and she was able to stop after that. It is going to take her some time to teach Ellie balance at the canter, but she works with her every day, so by August I expect she'll have it.
While in Kentucky I also got to see a Lakota Indian Naming Ceremony for the rare white buffalo calf born at Buffalo Crossing. That was really cool.
And since fireworks are legal in Kentucky, I also saw some amazing neighborhood fireworks displays. I thank god that fireworks are not legal in my state. I'm not thrilled with the idea of your drunk neighbor shooting fireworks at/near your house. I prefer to be a few miles away from the actual fire part.
4th of July celebrations with my family consisted of a lot of food and dips and people sitting around watching rerun television. It was really boring. I wanted to play a board game or cards but there weren't any games in the house! I couldn't believe it. Since I had eaten only a granola bar for breakfast and had worked both the horses and skipped lunch, I pigged out on all of the vegetables and dips. I had a yummy portabella mushroom sandwich off the grill. And my aunt's mom made this delicious fruit layered cake thingy that was light and fruity. I loved it. I ate the leftovers from that at lunch today. I didn't have the willpower to eat only half the leftovers and leave some for myself tomorrow. Oh well. Oh, and we didn't even watch the fireworks display. By that time it was cold and drizzly and we just wanted to go to bed. We didn't even get to go swimming in my uncle's pool because it started raining as soon as we go to their house.
All in all, I can't believe that it is already July. Why does time have to flip by so fast?