...I think - and I use that word with a lot of hesitation - think that I am understanding, forward, contact and in front of my leg. That or last nights ride was a complete fluke.
This is the time of year that I love...Fall. It is a little cooler, everything gets really pretty, work is getting busy again and it is one of favourite times. What I DON'T love is the fact that it is now dark before 8:00 p.m.
Last night when I got to the barn, the sky was a little intimidating. While tacking up, I made the decision to ride inside because the sky was black, creepy and it was windy....riding inside lasted for 10 minutes. It was hot, dusty, not fun, and I have noticed Chester breathes a little harder when he is inside...probably because it is dusty...imagine that. So, we headed outside with the scary black sky in the distance. I have been working really hard at getting a bigger, bolder more forward movement from him...and I THINK - THINK - I have figured it out. It goes back to what John told me last week about having a more solid base. Your lower legs can be ON, but not asking for more. When you have that more solid base, you can feel the difference in the horse underneath you. So, with my legs on - I barely have to touch his face...just little pulses with my ring fingers and he rounds his back under me and surges forward. What a feeling. It is light, comfortable, manageable and most importantly rideable. I take that back - what is more important then that is that Chester - LOVES being left alone. I remember what Nancy Tapley (the amazing dressage judge from our first event) said to me: "He is looking for you to hold his hand. Don't grab it, but let him hold it. He needs you to be there for him" And I THINK I have finally figured that out. We will see if I can have a repeat performance tonight.
So - as we are riding outside, lighting appears in the distance...hum, not good. There are about 3 or 4 of us out in the ring and we see lightening a few more times. At one point, I pipe up and go 'okay - if I see lightening once more, then I think we should go in'...that ended up being the smartest thing I have ever said. We saw lightening once more, headed to the indoor and within 30 seconds of us being inside, the sky opened up. I have never heard such noise before in my life. Lightening, Thunder, RAIN, wind...holy...so our amazing schooling session got cut super short because I could hardly hear what I was thinking.
We'll do some flat tonight, then have a boot around the xc field to clear his lungs before Equus. Thursday he will have off. Friday lesson hopefully - and the EQUUS ON SUNDAY!!! :)