Catching Up (Photo Heavy!)

Judging by the decrease in posts in my Feedly, I'm not the only one who has struggled to find time to post lately!  There's so much going on this summer.  A brief recap on what Connor and I have been up to:

(All photos on this post taken by Austen of Guinness on Tap.)

In General:
- My trainer wants things to come at him faster now - transitions, aids, simple changes, turns on course etc.  We spent so much time getting him through his "Where are my feet?" stage and then his "I know where my feet are but I can't get things from your aids to my feet fast enough," stage.  We could stay in our low-pressure state forever, but he's (finally) ready for us to mentally push him.  It feels good to know all the time going slow and not pressuring him was spent wisely, but also that we got through it.

Calm and happy, now if we could just keep those hind feet moving a fraction longer in the halt...


Dressage:
- We've been working on getting him to come through more with the inside shoulder, utilizing baby walk pirouettes.


- I made my bi-monthly mistaken attempt to see if maybe the Baucher would be an improvement over the loose ring for the flat.  It wasn't.  I'm like a kid that keeps touching the hot stove.  He didn't mouth the bit one single time that entire ride.  Running theory is that he doesn't like the thin/light mouth of that bit and prefers the more substantial KK loose ring and Metlab elevator (all three are french links).  Different bits for different stages, and we are through the Baucher stage, apparently.

(Sidenote: Trainer's amused words: "Why do you keep doing that?  You hate it every time you try it.  Put that thing away for good!")

- He bends off of my seat only really nicely now.  It feels like the top 4 inches of my thigh are making contact with the saddle in ways they never have before.

Jumping:
- We want to encourage him to jump more across the fences, rather than straight up and straight down, so we've been using oxers that gradually increase in width.  He's responded well to this.

Not one of the wide oxers I was talking about, this was just a baby oxer for our photoshoot with Austen.  My takeaway from this photo is that I need to work on getting my toes up, and I have done that since seeing these pictures.  Sidenote, it feels really good that my former chicken of a brain considers this height to be insignificant now.  

- He's been making his own decisions at times in jump schools, and the decisions he makes are good ones.  This makes me happier than almost anything else.  Not only is he getting good at the physical jumping game, but he's understanding the questions and independently thinking about how best to jump things.
This was my decision, not his.  I asked him to add a stride, and, well, he obeyed.  You can almost see the question marks floating above his head.  Check out that takeoff point.  And he somehow magically didn't hit a rail.

- "He needs to be more comfortable and fit in the canter," she says, "60% of your practice rides need to be in the canter," she says.  I did not volunteer that maybe 5% of my practice rides are in the canter right now...but I do intend to follow her suggestions.  60% of a ride in canter is going to be Transition City, though!

Not my favorite, not his favorite, but that's exactly why we need to do a lot of it.

23 comments:

  1. Yay awesome oxer photo! (Sorry I cut off your head ...)

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    1. Whatevs. You just cut off the Charles Owen, I know how you feel about Wellington Pros. JK!

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    2. Totes' saved you from the Welly Pro bubblehead. Always lookin' out for you. ;)

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  2. Connor is developing into such an incredible little athlete! His form over that oxer is VASTLY improved. You guys rock. :)

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    1. Thanks! I especially appreciate the improvement comment - it's one of those things that's hard to take stock of when you see him every day.

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  3. That's a really big 'little' oxer. Go you!

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    1. Thanks! I don't ask or measure what height my fences are, I just go off of perception. I think that and my trainer sneakily raising them sometimes has helped retrain my brain about what's big.

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  4. Looking awesome! Love that you and your trainer made sure to set a good foundation and now he's ready to put on his big boy shorts :)

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    1. Haha! Not quite ready for big boy pants yet, but big boy shorts. I like it!

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  5. You both look great!! Your "little" oxer looks absolutely massive to my dressage brain! :D

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    1. Thanks! It did once to me too, not very long ago! Amazing how fast that changes after you survive a bigger height a few times.

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  6. Sounds like you and Connor are doing awesome! :)

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    1. We are getting along pretty well!

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  7. Sweet catch up post, I love the sneaky instructor tactics of increasing fence heights whilst you're not looking. Exciting improvements!

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    1. She has always do ne that to me. It's so effective! I don't have time to think about it/panic.

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  8. Love the oxer pic. He's so cute. My trainer lies about how tall jumps are until I'm done.

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    1. Thanks! Haha. Trainers are so sneaky, but with good reason.

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  9. I see a big difference in both of you. I love the oxer pic but I love the two on the flat as well, he looks so focussed and attentive. "What next, boss?"
    And I envy you your position... I still haven't invested in the Shoulders Back thingy. Any day now ;D

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    1. Thanks! His attitude under saddle has been the biggest change this summer - learning what it takes to get him into the frame of mind you described. Get the SB! The thing is amazing. :-)

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  10. Awww, Connor is the cutest! And YAY on that 'insignificant' oxer :)

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    1. Thanks! That would have scared the pants off of me a year ago.

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