Echo went beautifully today - I was so impressed. I had to ride really early as I had a busy day planned, and I can conclude that Echo is most definitely a morning person. We did lots of work on being bendy and that seems to be really helping, as I am able to ride her much straighter as a result. I need to do some work on her right rein canter transitions, as these were a little scrappy, but she had a lovely contact in my left rein after a while and was really bending through her body. My only criticism is that she got quite deep in her carriage through the session - I was able to bring her front end up most of the time, but I think she just got tired and couldn't maintain it after a while.
There are some exciting things happening. Having decided that my summer goal would be to compete in a little showjumping competition, today I saw that the yard where I keep her is going to start a summer dressage series, having monthly competitions ending in a championship that takes your best 3 scores through the series. It's only 'in-house' so it won't be a big thing, but we have lots of liveries now, so should be fun. The other thing is that it is the British eventing tests, which I don't know, but I'm sure they must be fairly similar to the British Dressage tests. I guess to do a prelim level I would have to do an Intro level BE test - not really sure yet. Anyway - it's a chance to dress up, practise our test-riding and have some fun, without the stress of travelling to a show yet, so I think it's a very good thing.
So lots to look forward to! I'm going away next week, taking a school trip to Ireland, so won't be able to ride Monday to Friday. I have been very brave and said that a friend can hack Echo out a couple of times if she wants. I 'ummed and aahed' about it for ages, but she's a very considerate and experienced rider, and has just had to retire her horse, so has no one to ride. She has trained young horses, so knows all their quirks, and is much braver than me out hacking! I think they should have some fun. I am trying not to be too much of a neurotic mother about the whole thing, so have only given her a few instructions - like keeping her off her forehand in trot and not allowing her to rush. It'll be good for Echo to have another rider on her and I think my friend will really enjoy her. She's had an ancient riding school pony on loan for the last year and, though lovely, she is an ancient riding school pony nonetheless and I think Echo will be a bit of a treat!
I've been consulting my favourite training book and I think it's time we did a bit of gymnastic jumping. I think it would really help her strength and agility to do a few short grids, and also help my ability to ride her positively towards a fence. It will also be the beginnings of riding a course, so is a step (or a jump! oh dear...) in the right direction. I thin next time John is around, I will see if we can do a bit of this in my lesson. Don't think I've jumped a grid since I was about 12, so I'll need a bit of reminding!
I'm SO excited about my horse right now!!!!!