Monday was a very busy day, with preparations for the coming show and donkey clinic underway. Laura and I spent most of the day deconstructing the dressage arena and moving the metal corral fences that aren't being used. A tractor came Wednesday to level the ground, and then we will set up 12X12 and 16X16 stalls with the fences with mules going to the show to stay in. t was a lot of hard work, but I didn't mind it.
Tuesday was more of the same thing, but since we had finished most of it the day before, we had time to ride. I worked on riding through a line of trot poles to work on rhythm. The two pairs of cones were there, like last time. I rode in a four leaf clover pattern, trotting over the poles, then going to the outside of either of the cones, make a rollback to go between them, and repeating the pattern. This is also a good exercise to prepare for jumping. When turning around the cone, I need to:
• Make a wide enough
• Find a good, straight line to the poles
• Keep Lucky moving with enough impulsion and reaching underneath herself her hind legs
• Prepare to make the next turn around the cone
As you can see, a big part of jumping(or going over trot poles in my case) is the preparation before the jump. Starting out, I did not prepare for the turn around the cones in time, my turn wasn't wide enough, and Lucky wasn't moving with enough impulsion and reaching underneath herself with her hind legs. I had to start over several times. After a few times, I began to really focused on preparing and lining Lucky up for the turn. As early as when I was heading over the poles, I looked for the cone I would circled and prepared to go there.
I also had trouble making a wide enough turn around the cones, especially to the right, Lucky's hard side. Each time, I started out wide, but made a sharp turn right after the cone. I had to really work on using my inside leg to push Lucky out onto a wider circle. It wasn't until near the end that I managed to get a nice, wide turn to the right.
What I really had trouble with, though, was getting Lucky to take long enough strides to get over the poles. I have been working a lot on asking Lucky to move forward with light cues. When she didn't respond, I would kick her. I didn't get enough of a response. Since I wasn't getting her to open her stride more, her hind leg didn't quite reach over the second pole, and as a result, she stumbled over it.
It wasn't until the end of the lesson that I achieved a nice, rhythmic trot over the poles. Approaching the poles, I squeezed Lucky with my calves to get her get her moving forward. When she didn't respond, I gave her a tap with the whip I had been handed. She responded by lengthening her stride and trotting beautifully over the poles. I headed to the right cone, applying inside leg and flexion to make a nice, wide turn. I made sure to have enough calf on to keep her forward motion.
The driving show is this weekend. I can't wait!