Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Richland Photos!

As I mentioned a few days ago, we did make one day-long detour in the road trip to go to Richland Park so Pa and I could spectate and I could take some pictures for the USEA. The ponies enjoyed the extra day of rest (though their paddocks at the horse hotel we were staying at were somewhat death defying and had me up all night worrying) and I really enjoyed being back in action. Richland is a beautiful place and, though I've only competed there once before, one of my favorite venues. Here's some of what I got:

(This was my second shot of the day, straight out of the camera without any editing - I should have quit here!)

(Kristin Schmolze out over the fat Richland froggy)

(Jennie Brannigan looking fierce on her way to 2nd place)

(I think this was my favorite 'drop into water' of the weekend...)

(...seconded only by this one)

(Buck Davidson, CIC*** winner!)

(Sooo neat and tidy)

(Big jump out of the coffin)

(One of my favorite mares, R-Star)

(Advanced winner Michael Pollard - better watch out or you'll bite that tongue right off!)

(Tamie Smith showing an unorthodox but highly athletic means of clearing of the brush out of the first water)

(Hannah Burnett made the Pan Am selection trial course look easy)

(Shannon Lilley and Ballingowan Pizazz - Pan Am selection trial winners!!)

(My friend Max from California on her horse Devon whose markings are eerily similar to Ringo's - originally Devon was Ringo's mini-twin, but now that he's going advanced he's considerably more badass than Ringo!)

Hopefully I'll get to do a little more work for the USEA over the fall. They are so nice to me and it's a wonderful excuse to do one of my favorite things - watching horses all day!

Back in the Promised Land


(My favorite part of the trip: stopping at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island)
My God, we made it.

After 5 days and over 3,000 miles, the two ponies, Pa, and I pulled into the Stanford Red Barn parking lot, my second home and a place I've missed desperately over the past nine months. It feels unbelievably good to be back, and even better to know that the trip went smoothly and the ponies (touch wood) came through just fine: Ringo's leg (which decided to develop scratches T minus 1 day before departure: perfect) never blew up, we didn't crash, the ponies didn't kill each other, and Kiki managed to not slip and fall on her face coming off the trailer ONCE. Phew.

I hadn't realized how stressed I'd been for their safety until we got out of the truck at Stanford, and I literally felt my knees wobbling as the adrenaline washed out of me. The last time we made this trip after all, Kiki fell off the ramp unloading at Stanford and was as a result lame and out of work for the entire fall, and basically ended up coming to California only to sit in a stall for three months until it was time to start the whole long and arduous trip back to Massachusetts over Thanksgiving . D'oh.

The plan for the next few days is to slowly bring them back into work after the six days they've had off in transit. I'm just going to get on them long enough tomorrow to feel how they came through the trip, and then make a plan from there. My dad is around for two more days, so we're going to try to do a little sightseeing as well.

I can't write this post, however, without mentioning how heartsick I am for Andrea and Gogo. Gogo and Ringo were both rehabbing at the same time, and I gathered a lot of strength from Andrea's obvious commitment to horsemanship, and her unceasing quest to do right by her horse. Hugs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So Long, Farewell

It's hard to believe, but my summer on the farm has come to a close already. Where did the time go? I was only home for just under 8 weeks, but what a fun (and busy!) 8 weeks they were. I'm going to miss the farm very much, but am also looking forward to the three easy weeks I'll have in California before the school year begins.

I'm currently in Michigan with both ponies in tow, a quarter of the way back to our second home in Palo Alto. We stopped off today so I could do a day of work for the USEA, taking pictures at the Richland Park HT and CIC. It was my first big horse show since Luhmuhlen and I had such a blast!! Horse shows truly are amazing places. I'll have photos from Richland tomorrow, but at the moment here is a brief (and, I admit, fairly nauseating) video of me and Kiki on our last ride on the farm two nights ago (inspired by Suzie's awesome beach conditioning videos, which are considerably better!) =):


Ringo, in the meantime, got a going back to school gift of a very different sort:


A double bridle! Mom's new pony came with a double (just part of the MASSIVE wardrobe that he arrived with!) and, on Tuesday night, I decided to try it on Ringo on a whim. And, it fit! Score! It'll be a while yet before we're ready to start training in it, but it's fun to dream...

Tomorrow we head to Grand Island, Nebraska, for the second leg of the trip. Wish us luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to the Canter

On Thursday Kiki and I had our last jump lesson before heading back to California (in less than a week now - eeeeee!). I'm sad that I only got to take two jump lessons with Molly Kenney this summer, but man were they both worth it!

Our previous lesson had been in Kiki's "rough patch" (which, touch wood, we may not be totally clear of but we're definitely on the up and up) and so was very basic. We spent the entire lesson spiraling in and out on a 20m circle at the trot, and only jumped one little X at the end. But even then, I could tell that I liked Molly's approach. She was no-nonsense but tactful and Kiki (even in her total pillbug state that she'd been in) went way better at the end than we had at the beginning.

This week, Molly was very impressed right from the beginning with the progress we'd made since the last time we saw her. We could trot and canter without throwing fits! Miracles!! So, we were given permission to jump =)

We started out over a four stride line, just cantering back and forth. We only had to do it a few times for Molly to hone in on something that's been a key issue for me of late, that all comes down to the two magic words of jumping: Canter and Distance.

For me, growing up riding with Suzi, distance was never a stated part of the equation. Jumping, all the way up through Intermediate, was all about developing a good canter. The only time I ever counted strides was in related lines at shows, and even then it was only as a marker to know that, if we were looking a little short, I needed to keep the canter revving to handle the possibility of adding a "shuffle" stride in. I never thought about seeing distances in the slightest, but since I was so focused on having a good canter and Dually and I were such an established partnership, it rarely ever mattered.

Then I moved to California and everything changed, because I got introduced to the idea of "seeing a distance." Well, it turned out that I actually didn't have a half-bad eye! But I certainly didn't have a god-given talent for picking distances out of the air, and I spent so much time trying to "find distances" (whatever that actually means) that I thought about the canter less and less. The results, as you might imagine, have not been great. As a result, I've gotten less and less confident in my show jumping ability (and my jumping in general) over the past three years.

Well, without knowing a cent of that history, Molly cottoned onto the whole situation right away. To try to get me back to working on developing a canter, she had me just canter around and jump in no particular course or agenda. No stress, no looking for distances. Just make a good canter, and put some jumps in the way. And it actually worked! It was shocking what a difference it made, and really drove home just how far off the good path I'd gone. I've always, on paper, known how important having a good canter was, but I clearly haven't been following through well enough.

Here's our first round:



As you can see, we got a pretty wide variety of distances, and when I got to the deeper ones I got nervous and choked up on the reins too much, causing her to drop her knees (aka totally destroying her form in a way that could be dangerous down the road jumping big solid fences). Molly reminded me to stay chilly and, if anything, float the reins a little bit (not dropping her but just taking the pressure off) when we got to that spot to give her the best chance of using herself. We definitely improved in that aspect in our last round, seen here:



What a star! And check out how much sharper with her knees she was, even in the deep distances!

It was honestly that best I'd felt jumping in years. I know that sounds stupid because what we were doing was so absurdly simple, but I felt totally relaxed and confident probably for the first time since the Dually days. I'm really sad to be leaving Molly as I wish I had a little more time with her to get this good feeling solidified. But, at least I know what I'm aiming for when I head back to California!

In other news, we had the craziest thunder/lightning/hail storm I've ever seen on the farm yesterday. I was sprinting around trying to bring horses in in the PISSING DOWN rain (in the 10 minutes I was outside, I got over a half inch of rain in my wellies) and got pelted with acorn-sized hail that left welts all over my legs (because, like the mild-mannered New Englander I am, I left the house in a blind panic to get the horses in in whatever clothes I happened to have on... which was a pair of tiny running shorts, meaning that my bare thighs got a LOT of direct hail action. Ouch). Of course, I got the horses in juuuust in time for the sun to pop out again. Such is life.

(Welt-o-rama)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Progress

I'm on a bit of a video kick at the moment (mostly because it's been so long since I've ridden in a place with mirrors, so I don't really know what I look like riding!) and so, because Kiki has been much much much better over the past few days, asked Pa to video our ride today.

Since I last wrote about Kiki, I've had (or tried to have - old habits die hard!) a mental do-over about how I think about her training. I've always felt like we were behind the curve and that I had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing to 'catch up with everyone else.' Even typing that looks silly, because just who are these 'everyone else' that I've been so worried about? Freaks of nature like the eventers that go CCI**** when they're 8 years old? Why do I need to care? Kiki may be a little slow in her young horse development, but she's still hardly over the hill, and we've got plenty of time and no real rush at all to get where we want to go.

So, I've been trying very, VERY hard to just sit back and enjoy the ride a bit more. And I think it's paying off! Kiki is so sensitive that she most definitely picks up on my mood, and I think has been appreciating me not spending every ride tense and thinking to myself 'not good enough! Not good enough!' She has been steadily improving over the past 10 days, to the point where I'm not totally mortified to put video evidence of her up on the interwebz for everyone to see.

Here is her left lead canter (caution, beware mega solar glare a around :50):



No, it's not perfect. In fact, it's still really only passable. But did you see that moment where she broke to trot, went a few steps, and then calmly picked up the correct lead again? BREAKTHROUGH. Something that simple was literally what had her throwing herself against the walls of the indoor in her lesson a week and a half ago (actually, picking up the left lead canter at all was a pretty major production; but break and ask for it again? Jokes). To be able to canter around the arena, make circles, do little spiral ins and outs, and have her steady, sane, and not pulling or bolting is like a dream come true. Good piggy!

To the right:




This is her stronger direction, and I think it shows. There were even moments down the long side where her stride began to unlock a little and a real, civilized, more than passable canter came out. (Well, a glimmer, anyways).

And finally:


...This is why, at the end of the day, Kiki doesn't get kicked out of the barn =) She has a hell of a trot when she loosens her back up! Now if only we could trot like that in a competition frame... Someday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kim Lesson... with Videos!

Today I got to take refuge in the indoor from the CRAZY rain we've been getting and have a lesson with Kim on Ringo. He was amazing! It's cool to feel him get stronger and be able to sit and carry himself better. In our last lesson we had run through a lot of the movements from the different second level tests to see which one would suit Ringo the best (we settled on 2-3).

So this time around we went back to basics a bit and really focus on straightness and getting Ringo to sit a little bit more in the canter. Thanks to Pa's awesome videography, I have video evidence of how good he was! There's still lots and lots to work on (mostly with my position: wobbly core, chair seat, floating left elbow - ugh!) but I'm really happy with how he's looking.

Here's the tail end of our warmup, just starting to put him together a bit more in the canter:


After warming up, we did a "box" exercise, where I rode a box shape around the bottom end of the arena, focusing on making the deepest, squarest turns I could in every corner. Then, we went from there straight into shoulder in. What a difference! Getting control of his hindquarters in the square turn meant that I could go straight into the shoulder in, instead of muddling around the turn and then having to fight his shoulders over. Here's our shoulder in:



Sitting trot = fail. And as you can see, I definitely didn't get it right every time, sometimes resulting in some awkward first few steps of shoulder in. But when we did, it was pretty darn good.

Then, we moved on to the canter, continuing the box exercise and then making two square turns, going across the short diagonal into counter canter, doing two square turns in counter canter, and then heading back across the diagonal into true canter with a 10m circle along the way. Again, when I made the turns correctly, his canter became totally well-balanced and powerful. It felt almost like a whole new gait! Here's the canter in three parts:








He feels the best he ever has for me. I'm getting so nervous for the trip back to California (in just 10 days!!) because I'm worried that the trip will unhinge all the progress we've made. He's so happy at home right now and I'm worried about how he'll adjust to the (not worse, but quite different) lifestyle of the Red Barn. Ugh. We'll just have to make the transition as easy as possible for him!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why it's Great to Volunteer

1. Free Food!!
-At a swell place like GMHA you get breakfast, snacks, and lunch; at a smaller place like Huntington the organizer will make you a sandwich at her kitchen table! What's not to love?

2. Judges are nice
-Ok, this is stupid for me to admit, but I was definitely one of those competitors growing up who was seriously intimidated by dressage judges. There they were, sitting impassively in their little booths... LITERALLY JUDGING ME. Over the years I made up countless excuses about how such and such judge was evil and must not like me/my horse/my turnout/(insert lamo excuse here). Well, there probably are some judges that will do that out there, but in my time volunteering I haven't met them yet. Every judge I've met has been kind and courteous, worked as hard as they could to be fair and unbiased throughout the day, and has judged the quality of the test in front of them and nothing else. It's been really fun to get to know them!

3. It's Satisfying
-Let's be real: if I hadn't volunteered today, I probably would have picked a few paddocks, ridden my ponies, and spent the rest of the day in a vegetative state either in front of my computer or the television (or both). While enjoyable, such a day could hardly be labeled rewarding or satisfying. Volunteering, however, feels like a day well spent in every sense of the word. I'm up and working from before sunrise to sunset, I'm active the entire time, and I'm working for the sport I love. I finish the day feeling like I've not only given back to the sport but enriched my own learning and riding. Which brings me to...

4. It's a good learning experience
-There's no better way to figure out what a judge wants than to watch 50+ tests over a 7 1/2 hour period with a score-by-score running commentary direct from the judge in your ear. I always leave scribing feeling like I have a better understanding of what the judge wants to see, what her expectations are, and what part of the test to pay closest attention to as a rider. For example, today we did the Training division, which of course felt pretty applicable for me and Kiki. There must have been 30 riders who lost points for the figure-8 circle movement because they didn't prepare their horses well enough for the change of bend. I've always known that the preparation was important, but it really hit home to watch the difference between a properly executed ride and a sloppily done one.

5. It's a great excuse to horse-gawk
-At three days one of my favorite spectator activities is the jog because I love watching how all the different horses move and are put together. Well, the scribe's view of dressage (which is a lot of disconnected flashes and bits caught between feverish writing interludes) is about as close to the jog as one can get in a regular horse trial. I got to watch pretty much every horse in the competition, either in the ring or in warmup, and could admire an almost endless combination of shapes, sizes, movements, and personalities. I just can't get enough of it.

6. It's good handwriting practice!
-Sorry folks, I have terrible handwriting. But, just like improving one's knowledge about test riding, there's nothing to jumpstart one's penmanship like a 7 1/2 hour trial by fire. I focused hard and in the sweet-spot middle of the day (when I was warmed up but not weary yet) I managed to make my words loopy but legible, as lovely as I'd ever seen them in quick form (I actually can have nice handwriting when I write painstakingly slowly; it just falls apart when I try to turn the tempo up).

7. It's a chance to catch up with old friends
-I have a lot of Area I friends and good acquaintances that I really only see at shows, so if I hadn't gone up today it would have been a whole year or even more until I saw them again. The scribe is probably one of the more focus-requiring and so less catch-up-with-old-pals friendly volunteer jobs, but that's what lunch breaks are for.

8. It feels special to be a part of place I've loved for so long
-GMHA has always been one of my favorite venues, and nearly all my fondest childhood riding memories revolve around it in some way, between the Connemara shows and Young Rider camp and my earliest early events. So, even beyond the satisfaction of volunteering in general, it feels extra special just to get any old excuse at all to be up at GMHA on a fine summer day and bask in its beauty and uniqueness.

9. It's awe-inspiring to realize how much goes into every show I attend
-This goes hand in hand with the other satisfaction/giving back thoughts, but even more specifically I wanted to underline the increased awareness and gratitude volunteering gives you for just how hard running horse shows really is. There are so many people behind the scenes that get almost no recognition but without whom events just couldn't run. Definitely a lesson in not taking things for granted!

10. Did I mention free food??
(Teddy Grahams FTW)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kiki Comes to Jesus, and We Have a Change of Plans

First off, if you happened to see a post about my average day in photos this morning, only to have it mysteriously vanish at around 9am, that would be because I meant to post it to my other blog (which has been seriously thirsty for some content of late) but in my foggy 8am state I accidentally published it here. If you want to see it, check out my other blog.

The past week plus since the Jim Wofford clinic has been full of "ah ha" moments for Kiki, but not without a little bit of western behavior along the way. As of right now I'm feeling good and confident, but have also come to realize that a bit of a change up is in order to proceed best with Kiki's training.

To put it short, we've hit a cusp. We've gotten to the point where she is obedient and quiet in her "basic" work--walk/trot/canter and plopping around over low jumps--even at shows now. This is a great thing and shows huge progress from her as a young horse, where it was pretty unpredictable as to whether she would decide to "throw her toys out of the pram" at the show, as the Brits like to say (aka have a total meltdown).

When I try to push her a little further, however, and really bring out her HUGE latent athleticism, especially in the dressage, we've hit a wall. I had a great lesson with Kim today with her where it became really clear that she has all the pieces and more to be a really great horse (Kim was seriously impressed with her and said that she has the potential to be as good on the flat as Ringo someday, which is certainly high praise in my book!!), but is facing a block when it comes to the canter that is just going to take good old fashioned time and patience to overcome. Kim gave me some wonderful tools and great confidence that I'm doing the right thing, but just need to keep confronting her about it (without getting angry or mean) in order to break through and enter into the next level of her training.

Basically when I ask her to canter at the moment, she goes from being calm and thinking to herself "I can!" to a little frantic and thinking to herself, "I not only can't, but I don't want to either!" Asking her to stick with it currently results in some fairly mega tantrums that range from bolting, to rooting, to literally throwing herself against the walls of the indoor (klassy). But, when she gets it, she really gets it!

So it's just going to take time, patience, and commitment on my part (and hopefully as much help from Kim as I can get!). I'm going to take a step back and start incorporating more lunging into our weekly routine to get her feeling more confident in her own balance without her having to worry about me flopping around on her back. Kim also suggested long lining, which I know she knows how to do but that I admit (somewhat sheepishly) I've never done before, and so might also give a try if I can get the guts up. Under saddle, we're going to spend a lot more time in canter than we have been, not necessarily grinding on her but just chilling there so that she starts to realize that the canter isn't something that she grits her teeth (literally), holds her breath, and tries to just survive through.

The nuts and bolts effect of this realization is that I've decided to withdraw her from GMHA and Richland. She has proven that she knows what shows are about and can be a good civilized pony at them, but in the meantime isn't ready to be competitive at the level I want to compete her at. She is so special that I don't see that reason in using her miles up at shows where she's not yet ready to be a star.

I've been pondering this decision for a while now and have worried that I was doing it because I was feeling chicken (which has been true in the past), but I honestly don't think that's the case here. I've been approaching Kiki that way I approached my career with Dually, which just doesn't make sense. Dually was already experienced and ready to show when I started eventing him, and I needed to push myself to go out and show even when I felt a bit scared sometimes in order to build my own confidence and show experience. Now with Kiki it's me that is the more experienced member of the partnership, and I don't need to be going out showing just for the sake of getting my own experience or chasing ribbons. Now that the groundwork has been lain in terms of getting her settled and workmanlike at the shows, I need to take as much time as she needs to bring her from her current "sleeper athlete" (where glimmers of her awesomeness appear and are almost as quickly lost) to just "athlete."

I'm bummed because this means that I won't be getting out on cross country soon, but I feel good in my decision. This just means that I'll be looking forward to my next cross country round that much more!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Wrap Up and August Goals

Sorry to be a few days late with this; I'd been feeling a little internet over-saturated and so had put myself on a horsey news/websites ban. The ponies are seriously enjoying the awesome weather we've been having recently, and even though I don't mind the heat I'm certainly not complaining either! So here were my July goals:

July+ 2011:
Personal Fitness Goals

-Continue with marathon training, now aiming for the Top of Utah Marathon (17 Sept)-
noo this has been the biggest fail of the month. I didn't properly take into account how crazy busy I was going to be, or how drained of energy. I'm still signed up for a half marathon that same day, but I haven't run any significant distance since coming home and so am feeling a little underwhelmed about the whole situation. I'm not really sure where to go on this one.

-Ride without stirrups for at least 30 minutes, twice a week-
Sort of. I definitely did do some riding without stirrups, though I wouldn't say that it was 30 minutes, twice a week. About half way through the month both the horses felt totally dead, I think because I'd been trying so hard to get myself back into form with them, and so I purposefully let off the sitting trot and no stirrups work to try to let them recover. But, with Ringo's 2nd level debut getting closer, it's time to start sitting again!

-Ride in two point for ALL conditioning work, including trot warmups (at least once a week)-
Yes, though I only did two canters this month instead of four. Again, Kiki was seeming a bit weary and we have been competing a ton, so I wanted to give her a chance to chill and recover whenever I could.

-Continue with plank exercises, getting to 1:45 by end of July-
Nope. Bad girl. Bad bad bad.

-Start doing morning/evening feeding again-
Yes, though I've been pretty light on chores because of my schedule. The get up at 6, work, go study in the city from 7:20-5, rider two horses, do homework, fall into bed, and start it all over again the next day routine doesn't leave a huge amount of wiggle room for other activities.

-Help David and Gallagher out in the garden at least once a week-
Nope. When did I actually think I was going to have time to do this??

July+ 2011:
Piggy Goals

-Stay calm, steady, and relaxed in both flat and jumping-
Yes for the most part - she's really seemed grown up in terms of her quietness, though I am a bit worried as to how flat and without sparkle she's seemed of late. I think we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and both get refreshed.

-Bring out the dressage saddle again (Suzi doesn't use one) and start getting reacquainted-
Yes! With much success! We even got a bronze medal score at a very respected dressage show!

-Take a lesson a week, either jumping or flat, to help guide progress-
Not once a week, but we did get four total thanks to the two clinics we did, which were both remarkably helpful.

-Work trot/canter and walk/canter transitions to improve strength-
Yes, though we can always do more. She was still being a little funny about picking up the correct lead at the Wofford clinic, which has been one of her evasions since Day 1 and is a clear sign that she's not straight and strong enough. We still have work to do!

-hack out every day on hills in addition to ride to improve strength-
Yes, conditionally; I did this for the first few weeks until I felt like I'd absolutely drained her dry (the heat and humidity, and the fact that she has no shade in her paddock, certainly have not helped matters), but have laid off in the past few weeks to try to help her rejuvenate.

-Do conditioning work 1x/week-
Well, pretty much. We did two canters, two cross country schools, and an event. I think that's more than adequate.

-Practice drops into water, ditches, etc-
No drops into water, but we went through water, have popped a ditch, and have been out and about with her not batting an eye at anything (that's my girl!).

-Feel comfortable jumping 3'3" courses by end of July-
No, which was my biggest twisting stomach reaction about the Jim Wofford clinic. The jumps were all around 2'9"-3', and they still looked big. It's going to take a little time yet.

-Having good competitive outings at Huntington and GMHA, meaning obedient on the flat and polite and rideable in the jumping, with me riding appropriately-
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!! She was a champ and I actually didn't ride horribly. Win.

Ringo Goals

-Stay calm and steady as well-
Yes!! He's been so fantastically calm; I'd like to think he's happy to be back in work =)

-Practice sitting trot as much as possible without driving him nuts-
Yes, though it hasn't been as much as I'd wanted. August will, hopefully, be the month of sitting trot!

-Get 1st level fit by GMHA-
Yes! He was a bit tired on Sunday but still responded so well.

-Practice tests 1x/week-
No, but I did do a better job than normal of practicing my test movements. It's hard to practice the tests when you don't have the right sized ring to practice them in! Hopefully this month I can get organized enough to practice my tests in my dressage lessons, and so get some feedback!

-Have a happy, calm, fun return to competition after 13 months off at GMHA!!-
YES!! THE BIGGEST SUCCESS OF THE MONTH BY FAR AND AWAY!!

-Start jumping again??-
Nope, but we have trotted some little poles. I'm ok with that =)

-Take out hacking every day on hills to improve strength-
Pa has been Ringo's go-to hacking partner, and they've been great. It hasn't been every day, but they've gotten out a fair bit.

-Check legs daily to monitor soundness (I do this anyway, but why not make it official)-
Yep. There have been some days where he's had some general thickening because of the heat, and I can definitely still feel where his injury was (though that's because I'm super paranoid about it - most people can't), but in general everything is looking good. Hopefully we're on a good trend!

----

So July was, all in all, a pretty successful month. I got back into riding with a bang and lived to tell the tale, and both the ponies are happy and well. I left July not quite as confident or prepared as I'd like for Training at GMHA in just over a week (yikes! Where has the time gone?) but I'm still feeling a lot less rusty than I did four weeks ago. I just have to remember that patience is my friend…

August is looking to be another busy month, but hopefully it will be a bit more relaxing on the day to day, as my summer school will be ending in a week (wahoo!). Here's what I'm hoping to get done:

Kiki:

-Get feeling prepared and ready for GMHA, using thoughtful jump schools to build confidence-

-Have a good outing at GMHA, meaning obedient dressage and non-frightening jumping-

-Keep sound and confident through to Richland-

-Improve on GMHA performance at Richland-

-Be able to do a shallow loop in counter canter by the end of the month-

Ringo

-Practice sitting trot every day we do "up" work-

-improve shoulder ins and transitions in/out of shoulder in-

-go hacking at least once a week-

-ride out of the ring more often-

-improve simple changes and counter canter-

-Practice 2-3 at least twice!!-

I can't believe summer is almost over already! Best make the most of what we have left =)

(Kiki enjoying her fancy stall setup at GMHA)

(Ringo's back!! The biggest success of the month or even the year!!)
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