I admit, ever since the first of the month rolled around, I've been in a bit of a funk. There were a lot of reasons: the weather was icky, the flies and bugs have been atrocious, two of our boarders recently went back to school meaning that we've had to take over their chores, and a few more (very minor) bumps in the road on the getting-to-England front made life a little more stressful than usual.
(Okay the weather hasn't been THAT bad, but the humidity has been unbelievable and the bugs demonic. Still unpleasant.)
But more than that, it was something more intangible. September has always meant going back to school time, and for the moment I'm stuck in a weird limbo: preparing on the one hand to go back to school, but not for another complete month, and in the meantime trying to juggle what feels like a million different tasks that I have to complete in an increasingly finite amount of time.
So, I've been feeling a bit blah, and my first few rides of the month did very little to assuage those those feelings. Ringo was feeling a little stiff, I was feeling a little stiff and tight and mentally absent (all normal for when I'm stressed out), and we just weren't clicking. I packed up to my dressage lesson this Tuesday in a very flat frame of mind, contemplating whether I should just bag my last two shows of the year altogether and ride out this month with as little pressure on myself as possible.
(Definitely have been lacking the Saugerties sparkle of late...)
Wouldn't you know it, though, that the minute I got started with Kim and she convinced me to actually sit down, focus, and ride, suddenly everything started falling into place. I gradually regained that feeling of effortless fluidity that I love so much about dressage when it's going right: of just cruising along on a horse that is in front of the leg, supple, and tuned to every tiniest whim of my aids. It was like Kim had given me a big dose of Vitamin D, where D stands for DRESSAGE-ASS-KICKALICIOUS. It was amazing.
(Kim is amazing.)
We actually worked on some pretty fancy stuff, too (though I unfortunately have no visual evidence of said fanciness as Pa was busy). We did some real half-steps instead of the maybe-sorta-half-steps that we've been building into our workouts over the last few weeks, complete with Kim following us on the ground with a whip to (very lightly and gently, especially given Ringo's general dislike of whips) encourage him to get more active behind as I asked him to get more collected. He was so good!! Kim thinks that someday, if I were to keep going with him and not be leaving for pesky grad school, his piaffe would be amazing, as he has a real natural talent for it. If only...
After that we moved on to expanding that half-step trot into a more active and powerful collected trot, and then using that trot in our test movements. We ran through the whole trot tour in the PSG and then the whole trot tour of the I-1, which was pretty darn exciting. What an amazing beast :)
Then, it was on to the canter, and a return to the pirouettes as we didn't work on them last week. Kim had me do half pirouettes on the center line, coming down towards C and doing one then going back and doing another at A, and repeating until I could really get them a tick tighter than I've been practicing them at home. We eventually got some of the best pirouettes we've ever done in each direction (yay!! Progress!!), then called it quits for the day. I really wish I had video, because we were on fire!
Hopefully we can carry on our Vitamin D-infused performance to this Friday, when we're going to get a chance to ride with Lendon Gray (!!!!!!!) - I've been on the wait list to get into one of her clinics all year and finally got in at the last one before I leave for school. I'm probably 80% excited and 20% terrified that I'm going to make a total fool of myself in front of one of the best clinicians in the country. ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT.