It’s halfway through the program and I haven’t had time to write because I have been having too much fun! For starters, not to make all the northerners jealous, but it has been pretty toasty these past few weeks. Having temperatures in the mid to high 80’s and I have gotten the occasional sunburn here and there 🙂 And just like the weather, the riding has been great!
I had a lesson with Louise Nathhorst last week and she is pretty remarkable. The lesson was really great, and Kahlua was on top of his game. We did most all the movements from the Grand Prix test. When we were schooling the canter pirouettes on the centerline, a great piece of advice that really helped my horse and me, was for me to turn my inside shoulder to his inside hip. Set the canter up in a way where I can collect a stride on the spot and turn the pirouette and let him do his job. And the turning of my own shoulder really helped me get out of his way so he could step under himself and turn. We also worked on our most difficult area, the piaffe, and letting him think of taking the passage on the spot. We had some really great steps and have been schooling it that way since with some more success. Also, we worked on making my corners better and to collect him more before I make the turn, that way I have better preparation for whatever I am doing out of the corner. She was so kind and I hope I can ride with her again sometime!
My lessons with Oded have been going really great as well. Kahlua has this new gear that I call his “fancy trot’ otherwise known as the collected trot. This trot allows him to have more swing in his gait, and to take longer loftier strides. We are schooling it in some lateral movements as well and have had success making half passes in this trot. It is still new for him and he is getting stronger and more comfortable in this new gear. We have also been working the piaffe like we did with Louise in her lesson and that has built some clarity in his mind of what is a good piaffe and what we don’t want. So I am working hard to make sure everything stays black and white for him and that he knows when he is doing good! The contact from the bit to my hands is getting a lot better too, I am having a better understanding of following the contact. While still getting a clear half halt and getting him through on the outer rein. Really am grateful to work with Oded, he pushes us to be better and that is just what we need!
I almost had a change in discipline about two weeks ago, I had a working equitation lesson with Doina Fischer, and I think I am hooked! The first day it was raining when I had my private lesson with Diona and we still had a great time playing under the raindrops. We did activities like doing 10 m circles around cones, doing half passes moving up to flying changes between cones, doing pirouettes around cones, to side passing over a pole. We used all of the dressage tools and through these exercises and staying aware of my seat, my horse became more supple to my aids. The second lesson was on Valentines Day, and I couldn’t have had a better Valentine than Kahlua. In this lesson we did more advanced activities and even did a pattern at the end, ending with picking up a rose. It was so much fun! I loved using the poles and cones and thinking about where to position my horse or prepare before the next movement it was so great. My only regret is that I didn’t get any of it on video! So you may just have to look for us in the working equitation arena because I truly am hooked!
Besides thoroughly enjoying my horse and lessons with some amazing professionals, I have gotten to enjoy all the other WIT activities with the group. We had a freestyle workshop with Collier Wimmer, and Kahlua and I got to be the demo pair. That was a lot of fun to play with some music in different gaits and movements. Collier was giving us tips on how to create a unique freestyle fit for you and your horse. And what music would be best, to showcase your horse, so much fun learning with her. Also, I am getting geared up for the USDF lounging workshop this weekend. This will be the last workshop of the whole series. And last but not least, I have some exciting news and Kahlua and I will be cantering down centerline in March at Global. I am super excited to have fun and show for our very first time in Florida. I have recently done some reflecting and I am so appreciative of this horse and what he has done for me because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here or riding for Christian. But it has been so fun and exciting to see our improvements because not too long ago we couldn’t do a line of one tempis or passage. So I am super happy with our progress and I am excited to watch us both get stronger.