Wherefore artwork thou, proper lead? In my final weblog publish, I used to be planning to spend the subsequent month charting out the third model of our present schedule and constructing on the teachings discovered through the Dom Schramm clinic. Nonetheless, as has develop into customary process on this journey, nearly as quickly as I hit submit on that weblog entry, these plans have been thrown out the window when Odin introduced with a minor, hind-end muscle-related lameness. After a number of weeks off for therapy and analysis, we obtained the go-ahead to renew coaching.
In speaking with my farrier throughout that point, we determined to place entrance pads on Odin to assist fight the very dry and arduous floor situations we have been having in Central Kentucky this summer time. And naturally, as quickly as we did that, the rains got here and Odin promptly pulled off one in every of his shiny new sneakers within the mud. And if that wasn’t sufficient, as soon as we lastly obtained again underneath tack, we appeared to have utterly misplaced the precise lead. As I used to be watching the times of July tick shortly by, I started to suppose that his proper lead and my sanity will need to have run off collectively.
Our canter work has been tough, to say the least, so I hoped to have July to work on each of us getting extra snug in that gait. All through my journey again to the saddle this 12 months, I’ve encountered many bodily points and limitations that I by no means earlier than skilled as a rider. To say it’s been irritating and disheartening at instances could be placing it frivolously. I’ve struggled with decrease again points for a number of years now and, regardless of therapy and work to enhance it, one thing about Odin’s huge, gangly canter actually makes my decrease again indignant. Due to this, I’ve began to get unintentionally defensive with my driving after we do canter work, and all of that coupled with Odin’s tumultuous July resulted in our canter world being approach not on time.
And so, because the July 30 horse present deadline shortly approached, I used to be burdened. This was the primary present on the newly reworked schedule and I actually didn’t wish to miss it. However I had entered two dressage checks, each with canter elements, and I simply wasn’t assured in my means to get Odin by them.
The day earlier than the present, after every week of actually irritating rides wherein we solely achieved our proper lead a number of instances and wherein my again was notably sore, I used to be leaning towards scratching and possibly admitting that we simply wouldn’t be as polished for the Thoroughbred Makeover as I had hoped. Even the morning of the present as I used to be packing the trailer, I informed myself that I wanted to at the very least go and journey round in a present atmosphere, and if warmup was too messy I’d simply scratch.
In order Odin and I walked up towards the busy dressage advanced, I totally meant to spend the morning hacking as an alternative of displaying. To be sincere, I used to be feeling fairly sorry for myself and questioning if possibly I’d bitten off greater than I might chew after being out of the saddle for therefore lengthy.
To my shock, Odin was joyful and relaxed proper from the start, which was a giant enchancment from our first present a number of months in the past. He actually appeared to be taking every little thing in stride. As I started warming up for our first take a look at, I used to be thrilled with how skilled he remained. So, off I went to current to the choose and at the very least give the primary take a look at, Intro C, an try.
Odin was much more nervous as soon as we obtained in entrance of the choose, which was compounded by a big meals competition taking place throughout the ability and loudspeakers from the leaping enviornment blaring as we trotted down centerline. The take a look at was a multitude, we missed the precise lead, we did some pretty facet passes down centerline to halt (on the unsuitable place, ooops), and as I thanked the choose sheepishly, all I might take into consideration was getting again to the trailer and grabbing a giant bottle of wine on the way in which house.
I introduced to my pals that we’d not be doing the second take a look at and my pals instantly knowledgeable me that I’d, in actual fact, be doing it and basically dragged me to the subsequent ring. With a brief turnaround time between the checks, I opted to simply hang around and attempt to be taught my second take a look at, which I hadn’t bothered to do earlier than, assuming that I’d not be doing it.
Odin frolicked underneath a tree watching the chaos of three dressage rings and two busy warmups in such a peaceful skilled approach that even I used to be starting to speak myself into doing the second dressage take a look at. And so, because the ring steward known as my quantity, I used to be feeling fairly good about giving this second take a look at a shot.
Odin trotted down the centerline of the second take a look at nearly like a wholly totally different horse and proceeded to place down about nearly as good a dressage take a look at as we might probably do proper now, even getting his proper lead, which stunned me a lot that I almost obtained misplaced (for the second time on this take a look at, the primary being a beautiful albeit misplaced canter circle to the left) and prompted me to burst out laughing, which I hope the choose at the very least discovered amusing.
As I left the sector there was an enormous smile on my face and I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted. I used to be so grateful that I had folks with me who knew precisely when to push me and that I had a horse that proved he was able to displaying up after I want him essentially the most and deserved extra good thing about the doubt than I used to be giving him. We ended up with a 2nd place in our first take a look at, and fifth place with a rating of 63.96 in our second take a look at, which was Coaching 2 (and would have been two factors greater with out my error).
There’s nonetheless plenty of work that must be carried out over the subsequent 2 1/2 months, however we achieved one in every of my greatest targets from the start and that was to compete the Coaching 2 take a look at by August. It wasn’t fairly, however we obtained by it and I’m feeling tons extra assured not solely in myself (as a result of let’s face it, I’ve plenty of work to do as a rider nonetheless) however particularly in Odin, who really exceeded all expectations and confirmed me many glimpses of how enjoyable our partnership goes to be sooner or later. July marked one 12 months since Odin’s final race, and I’m excited to see the place we’re in one other 12 months’s time.
So for now, knock on wooden, we’re getting into crunch time with plenty of good classes underneath our belt and with clear areas of enchancment recognized. I’m going to maintain engaged on my physique in order that I could be a higher rider throughout canter in addition to work on remembering my checks higher, and Odin goes to get a little bit of dressage boot camp by taking classes and using extra advanced-training aids to assist us enhance steadiness within the bridle and get our canter work sorted out as soon as and for all. August is formally “Discover the Proper Lead” month, and hopefully the subsequent time you hear from me, we will report that we’ve discovered it and have it solidly underneath management.
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