It's been back to the old grind here as summer holidays ended and my son went back to school. He's moved up to "high school" which in North America, would be the equivalent of "junior high" and although it sucks for him to have to go back to school, it's great for me as their school day starts REALLY early! This gives me an extra hour of horse time in the mornings before work and I have been taking advantage of the extra schooling time.
I also turned 36 at the end of August but I may as well be 63 as all this extra riding time has been taking a toll on my right hip. The damp weather doesn't help but each year my arthritis gets worse and worse. I can't wait for my off-side side saddle to come back but it's going to be a while yet as Roger has lots to do on it. If I can't find another off-side in the meantime, then I'm just going to have to suck it up and ignore the pain.
Just schooling for a max of 20 minutes seems to not cause me too much grief and keeps Hattie mentally with it. That is what we did this morning and my hip was ok all day. It was a good schooling session though as Hattie was nice and forward (except for two spooking sessions from the monsters in the blackberry bushes beside the arena!). Our canter transitions are becoming more consistent and I will be doing my first prelim test this month too! LOL, just have to send off the entry form but the plan is to do the Intro B test as a warm up and put us in the "zone" and then do the Prelim 4 test.
We have our last Diamond Equestrian showing show this month too so have been working on getting Hattie working properly and not doing everything half *ssed so that the judge will see (he is judging the classes again) that we did take his commments on board!
All this dressaging has helped us with our little jumps too. Hattie is getting better at staying off of the forehand when approaching a jump which then lets her get her spots in a nice came fashion. I did half contemplate taking Hattie into the clear round jumping show yesterday and just have the jumps put at 1' but when I saw the course and saw the one stride combination jump and the skinny upright fence off of a tight turn, I thought "forget it!". My hip was also not very happy yesterday which was also another deciding point!
I want our jumping to be calm and if I put Hattie in that situation with those crazy jumps, it would blow her mind and I would probably come off and break something else. I spoke to one of the show stewards about my predicament and she said that if I call the day before and let them know, that when they are setting up the course, that they can leave the poles on the ground for me to jump at the show as long as I am the first one there. So that is good! I can still "jump" a course riding Hattie side saddle in a show situation but not have to worry about clearing jumps but concentrate on calmness and our approach.
I have no intention of becoming an international show jumping side saddle superstar so am quite happy to do poles on the ground and Hattie is happy too as she still gets to do her favorite thing as a reward for "boring" dressage.
This is the jump we did today after dressaging to prove that we really do jump despite my chickeness!
I had to wrap my fixed head after the last show though, as the hole in the doeskin at the front of the heap tore from the zipper on my boot. I'm going to wear my old zipperless boots to the next show to save any additional wear until I can get my saddler to patch up the hole.
I must say that with all this schooling and jumping, that my Whippy is proving to be a very secure saddle! I love it! I think Hattie is a Whippy horse. Now, if only I could find an off-side one....