Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What a difference a year makes

A year ago, I was struggling with my confidence and struggling to understand why it was so difficult to ride both Ari and Toga.  SO much has happened since then - most significantly figuring out that Toga's issues were from his bad eye getting much worse.  Since he's been wearing the patch when I ride him, he's back to his old cocky self.  It's changed my riding as well, from defensive to offensive.  Instead of riding a stadium course wondering if he is going to stop, I can now focus on the straightness and striding that I need to.  He is an amazing animal and I'm more and more proud of him every day. We are starting from scratch with a few Novice horse trials before slowly moving back up. He has been super at the low level, getting great dressage scores and jumping around clean and easy.   Addie is riding him at Waredaca this weekend, and then her first Training at Seneca.  It's exciting to watch him lope around and take care of her like he did at the MDHT starter this past weekend.  I give him a lot of credit for keeping that "bridled enthusiasm" under control!  I think at this point my goal would be a CCI* at some point in the next year.  He's ready, but like Packy said recently at MCTA "We're just happy to have him back in the ring."  REALLY happy.

Ari continues to get better and better.  He is a big challenge for me in that his movement and style doesn't really do my body much good.  Since I got hurt a few years ago, certain horses really mess with my hips and back.  Ari is one of those horses, unfortunately.  But in spite of that, I have gotten more used to it and I think we are finally getting it together.  I watch my pictures from the shows and see that my leg is steadier, I'm staying WITH him better,  and he is using himself a lot better.  It's a slow process (#myfirstwarmblood) but I know we're going in the right direction.  The flatwork is better too.  He is a naturally really good mover, but keeping that gigantic, slow moving body together is tough for him and keeping him fit is an entirely different program than for my quick little TBs.  A challenge, but one that I am willing to tackle given that he is a consistent contender and often wins. He's a good soul and tries so hard to do what he thinks I want him to do.  I think he will be absolutely amazing, I just have to be patient and make sure it comes together in the right order.  Sure he can do the Preliminary dressage, and will jump cross country without blinking an eye, but we want the jumping form to tighten up before he moves up.  It will happen but I'm not setting any time goals for it.

The AECs are Ari's goal again this year.  We are qualified, and I am determined to do better than we did last year.  It was a really fun show, but I think this will be my last year there for a while.  It's a LONG way away and there are other big shows I'd like to compete at.  The cost of eventing (see my tirade on Facebook in March...) has slowed me down, especially trying to compete two horses.  Sticking close to home this year, for the most part, until Texas, and luckily we are in an area where have so many shows, recognized and unrecognized, within a reasonable travel distance. 

Waredaca is next for both horses, then Seneca.  Good luck to everyone at the shows - did you see how many Southwind riders are competing??  We have a VERY talented group of dressage, event, and hunter riders at our farm!! And thanks to The Surrey for supporting me and letting me chat about my many learning experiences while I bring Ari along, and bring Toga back :))