Movin’ on up…

I know its been a while since I posted.  That’s partly because I was just really busy with life (finding a new job is exhausting and soul-killing work), but also because there hasn’t really been a whole lot to say.  For one thing, I was overly busy tending to Healey, who decided to be a young horse and cut his leg in a dumb pasture accident.  In the end, it will be just fine, but he took some dedicated care and will take some more time to fully heal.  Let me just say that young horses have no sense of self-preservation, especially young warmbloods.

When I wasn’t caring for an angry, young, injured warmblood, I’ve been picking away at the pieces of the Prix St. Georges, and getting ready to show Fourth level this summer.  In practice, what this means, is that I’ve been doing an awful lot of transitions between medium canter, collected canter, and very collected canter.  Straight, round and adjustable have been the words of the day pretty much every day since I brought Cardoon home at the end of March.

It hasn’t been a straight line of progress, and Cardoon definitely had a week or so where he vehemently objected to the idea of moving forward in a very small canter.  And god forbid that we asked him to canter small AND turn…there was some spitting out of the bit and plenty of angry Cardoon faces.  For those who have met Cardoon in person, you can just imagine the groaning that went on.

Fortunately, he didn’t last long in that phase, and went back to being the practically perfect pony I’ve come to know and love.  He’s buckled down, and it occurred to me just a week or two ago that without hardly noticing it, we’ve made real progress.  It snuck up on us for sure, but suddenly I found that I could reliably ask for straightens, collection, and all the movements from Fourth level and know that they would happen.  We’ve also developed a nice half pass zig zag, which is pretty cool.

There are plenty of things we need to make better – half passes at both the trot and canter still need more bend, changes (especially the tempis) can be straighter, and our overall gaits can always be more uphill – but I now know when I get on that when I ask all of these movements, they will happen more or less  when and where I want them to.  Even the changes, which Cardoon has demonstrated his savant-like genius for, are no longer stolen from me every ride.  In short – he’s letting me in more and more and he’s trusting me to drive.

Our first show is next weekend, so I finally decided to start schShad and pointsooling the whole test (Fourth Level, Test 1) about a week ago.  Although I had been picking away
at bits and pieces of it, especially that medium-collected-medium trot on the diagonal, I hadn’t ridden all the way through it form start to finish yet.  Usually when I set out to try this, the first several attempts are unmitigated disasters so you can imagine my shock when we got all the way through the test, and it went well.  I even thought there were parts of it that were
pretty damn good!

My goals for this year’s show season are modest – to get my Silver medal scores at 4th level and make my first credible attempt at the PSG before the end of the year.  After all, I have to wear my amazing new shadbelly sometime this year!



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