Today Papa and I headed over to Thomson again to watch cross country day at Pine Top. It was wonderfully cool today (after the upper 80s we had yesterday! I simply refuse to complain about sunny weather this time of year, but I was seriously wilting in my current thick-blooded state) and we both had a great time helping Suzi get ready and then heading out to watch.
(seriously exuberant jumper!)
Suzi and Ryan were great, loping around easily - though she did say that, due to it being his first outing in so long, he was a bit strong! He really is a beautiful jumper.
(Such a class jumper)
It was so nice to just walk around the course in such nice weather and watch so many wonderful horses and riders clearly having a great time. There really is nothing like that great horse show feeling!
(This jump looked wicked fun)
We hung around through the end of the Prelim, and then headed back to Aiken to see the Erickson ponies.
I rode Kiki first again and did a bit more "dressagey" canter like I was talking about yesterday (which mostly just meant sitting in the saddle instead of being in two point) and in general it went very well. She can't hold a put together canter for very long, but she definitely felt less stuck than she has in the past. To the left (her stronger direction), we were even able to do a big circle of counter canter in a more collected but still active frame. Excellent! I struggled a bit with my position (partly because I'm not in my saddle and so am using Suzi's stubben jump saddle which doesn't fit me super well, but I'm loath to blame the equipment when I'm also clearly so rusty!!) but felt like I made some improvement during the ride.
It was Ringo's turn next, and we did some more of the transition work that I did on my first ride with him two days ago. I focused a bit more on engaging his hindquarters by doing some low-grade lateral work (shoulders in or haunches in) and was very happily surprised at what a difference it made. He was much lighter and more fluid in the bridle, and marched along with the active intensity that I've been used to (whereas the past two rides he's felt almost weirdly lazy). I tried really hard to not come against him with my hand, with mixed success. I have a hard time getting the downward transition without feeling like I have to pull (booooo), though there were a few where I was able to do it properly with my leg and body while keeping my hand light. Something to keep practicing!
(Ringo's tongue making its daily appearance - he hates having foam on his mouth and becomes obsessed with trying to lick it off!)
We went for another run this afternoon, for which I felt much fresher thanks to the cool weather. Phew! I'm still definitely noticing some serious leg fatigue right from the outset, but hopefully as I get more riding fit that will pass. And certainly, when I get back to brisk British spring weather with no horses to ride, training is going to feel like a cakewalk in comparison!