Chester continues to amaze me.
He is one of the smartest horses I have ever met. When he is good, he is VERY good and when he isn't VERY good, it is 99.99% my fault that he isn't. This horse, just gets it. When working on something (anything), even something very new, it takes him 3 or 4 times to 'get it' and then it is like a light bulb goes off in his head and he goes 'OH OH OH!!! I GET IT!!!' and then it is like he has been doing it his whole life.
On Friday, we were schooling out in the jumper ring and there was a lesson going on, with a couple of younger kids.,...so, kudos for me for keeping my eyes up and looking where I was going. Every time Jen (the instructor) would yell something out 'Eyes up!', 'Heels Down' etc I would catch myself making sure I was following her directions. At one point, I even said to her 'Geeze, I thought you have been yelling at me the entire time'...lol We have been working a lot on our transitions. Especially from trot-canter-trot and I think they have improved exponentially over the past couple of weeks. So, Friday, we continued with the transition work...and we started to make it a little harder: figure of eights, with a couple trot steps over 'X' pick up the new lead...and, it has been going VERY well. We have started to work on his flying changes...and he is like 85% there. It is sooo weird. He knows he is on the wrong lead, will come back to trot himself and switch it. Sometimes, I feel him switch in front, but not in back, so I ask him to come back, get it together and start over. It is much easier for him coming off the left and switching to the right then it is the other way around. In the lesson that was going on, Jen had some teeny xrails set up, and i popped him over them - letting him pick his pace and find his footing - I just sat there and let him sort it out and made the 'suggestion' as to which lead he should be on. He was a star. As we were coming across the diagonal, he swapped his lead....ON HIS OWN...with a perfect flying change, that Jen happened to see. She goes 'OMG, he just got it!!!'...and I called it at that. So proud.
On Saturday - I was there bright and early as we had a wedding to go too..Aaron was in the wedding party...anyways. I broke out the dressage saddle and my plan was to again work on transitions, responsiveness, and keeping him supple and happy...and yes, my downfall FORWARD and IN FRONT OF MY LEG WITH QUIET HANDS...sigh...I am getting better at riding him properly, I swear. Our next event is September 12 and I swear, if it is the last thing I do, we WILL get a low 50s in our test...anways...the weather was bonkers on Saturday - I started outside, and then moved inside after about 25 minutes, simply because it was blowing around like MAD and I thought a typhoon was about to reach us. It was weird, but it was almost as if he preferred to be inside himself....he felt much more light and responsive. We did some leg yielding, which was great, and then worked up to leg yielding from the 1/4 line to the track and immediately picking up canter...which helped me a lot with my aids and keeping him bent the right way. We also did a lot of rein changes and trot-canter-trot transitions in the arena...I worked on staying balanced with a long leg. I totally forgot to do no stirrup work...whoopsie. Needless to say, he was pretty pleased with himself and snorted along happily the entire time we were in the arena. We went on an awesome walk hack for about 40 minutes after our ride...which is good for his conditioning/endurance. This Thursday we will do some conditioning out in the big field.
Riding tonight - will jump a little bit, flat him tomorrow and the boss comes on Wednesday...so we can **HOPEFULLY** have a lesson...I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that considering the construction of the new barn/arena has caused us to temporarily LOOSE an arena...sigh...it will be well worth it in the end...which reminds me, I should take some pictures of the new arena so everyone can see how amazing it is going to be!
Here is my very handsome fiance (and I)...I Love him to pieces!! (Don't tell that to Chester though.)