I have really gotten down to business this week prepping for Twin. Actually, I only got in 3 rides but I feel like we had some big successes in all 3 so I am happy with that and feel that we are on the right track.
Tuesday I rode dressage. Gatsby started out in a butt-headish mood and was back to all his old ways, spooking at nothing, running from my leg, avoiding the contact, sucking back...ughhhh. At this point I was thinking that somewhere in the last month something obviously went the wrong direction and I have NO CLUE how to fix it and how the heck am I going to make it through our dressage test at Twin without crying out of frustration. But, I tried really hard not to let him get to me and to just stay focused and ride through it and cross my fingers that he would respond. Well, eventually he did. He didn't end up nearly as nice as I had hoped and I had to work WAY harder than I should have BUT at least it was progress and I did have to be happy with that. Plus we did have some pretty nice lengthenings. I actually had a friend walk by during our ride and I mentioned that he was being a jerk and then about 5 minutes later she walked by again and commented that "he doesn't look like a jerk, he looks really good!" So, I guess that's all that will really matter when it comes down to it...at least short-term.
Wednesday we had a jumping lesson with Alexis and I was really happy with how it went. I am constantly having to remind myself that my horse does actually listen to my half-halts now and I really don't have to fight with him like I used to. However, I also am having to remind myself that even though he does listen, he gets so excited and focused on course that I really need to make sure my aides are getting through to him. If I give a strong half-halt he really does respond but if I just whisper "woah" he will think about it...and then decide to do things his own way.
We worked a lot on the same things as last week, tight turns and bending lines. We had one line that was a long 4 and I was really proud of myself for actually putting my leg on and getting the 4 instead of chipping the 5 like we normally do. There as also a XC jump in the area, just a little wall with some scary chevrons painted on it. We presented it to him and I figured he would jump it really big and probably squirm all the way to it. This horse continues to surprise me; he cantered up to it nice and relaxed and didn't over jump it at all! I was really happy with him especially considering this will be our last jump school before Twin.
To finish up the week we had another dressage school, this one much more successful than Tuesday. I was going back and forth about whether to do a dressage school or a conditioning ride but I am really happy I decided on dressage because it was the perfect way to head into the weekend, SUCH A CONFIDENCE BUILDER! I don't even know what to say, he was just fabulous. I can really tell how much his gates have improved since January, his canter is much more connected and his trot is much more free and flowing, it's really wonderful to ride. I'm so glad we seem to have overcome whatever we were going through. We will have a dressage lesson with Alexis next week and then hopefully we will be all set for Twin!