Today me and Poppers had a lesson in the dressage arena to familiarize us with it before Sunday. I hadn't really ridden in one since....probably 2006, the last time I evented. It's funny how small and cramped you feel when you're in there, and how quickly the letters come up. You really have to visualize your movements before you do them and plan ahead. I anticipate the movement terribly and usually will do a transition before the letter, so I really tried to focus on being correct in that aspect. Pop has more of an opportunity to get behind my leg in a smaller ring, so it's very important to keep reminding him to go forward. C really had me work on my arms and hands today...I definitely have a tendancy to break my wrists and end up with them in my lap, elbows locked, with too long of reins. Which of course leads to Poppers bracing and shortening his stride. When I shorten my reins, focus on elasticizing (word?) my elbows, and putting my hands out in front of me with thumbs on top, it's almost funny how quickly he softens his neck and is willing to go more forward towards my hands. These are just little things I need to continually remind myself of! That and not leaning in the direction he is drifting from. For example, when we come down the longside tracking right, his haunches would prefer to go right and his shoulders left...so I sit off to the left in a subconcious effort to "convince" him to put his haunches in line. Naturally that just makes him more crooked and my aids ineffective, so I have to really focus on putting my weight back in my inside stirrup and riding him straight.
Our left lead canter is my biggest concern for this weekend....I have a hard time keeping him through and forward to the left because he likes to get crooked in his body and lock on the right (outside) rein. Also in the walk it'll be important to keep him marching but not let him jig or get tight.
We have our last jump school tomorrow and I hope it goes well :) I'm more than a little nervous about the stadium but I'm sure we'll be fine.
He's such a good man :) I'm so lucky to have him! Now if we can just beat the heat the rest of this week! It's been brutal..95 by 10 am every day this week!
Stay cool! God Bless!