The truth is that I want to show. It's that simple. I don't need to win, but I need to get out there and show off what we've learned. It's frustrating to be stuck at home, perpetually schooling the same basics over and over. Even though I showed him last summer, it was simply for experience and not to show off anything. Our scores ranged from a low of 49% to a high of 58%. We weren't ready.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, teaches a warm up exercise that really works for Izzy. I've written about it before, but it's basically 1) firm up the outside rein, 2) sit on the inside seat bone, 3) flex to the inside, and 4) release the inside rein. I've had to modify it a bit though. I start with number 2 only. Down the long side, I sit on the outside seat bone, but as I approach the corner, I weight both seat bones a moment and then I sit on the inside seat bone. I do the same thing through the next corner until I am again on the outside seat bone.
As we're walking, I think about massaging his back as we walk the rail and cross the diagonal. Ever so slowly, I pick up the outside rein and go from number 2 to number 3. He can look straight ahead, but he can't look to the outside unless I choose to counter flex him.
That was the biggest AHA of the month. Izzy is a hot horse who is looking for reasons to be scared. If I keep his attention on me, he focuses on the task at hand and forgets to think about the monsters lurking outside of the ring.
I had a typical ride on Izzy, but my mom thought he looked fantastic. She even commented that he looked like he was trying very hard to please me. That really took me by surprise since I always feel as though he's working on his exit strategy. It was encouraging to hear that kind of comment from someone who doesn't ride or spend time with horses. If she could read that expression on his face, it must be true.
More up than down is progress.