It is hard to believe that we are already at the midpoint of our Aiken adventure. Although I must say that everyone is sleeping well because we are all so tired!
Taco has fallen in love with Flo. They are not terribly friendly at home, but they seem to be having a vaction fling, so to speak. Taco is usually quite unconcerned about other horses coming and going, but when he is separated from Flo he is very sad.
As promised, I will update on my lessons with Amy. Yesterday we worked on my dressage test for Full Gallop, Training Test B. Since the tests were rewritten for 2010 it was a new one for me. For some reason I started out with a lot of tension in my shoulders that I never quite overcame. I think it is beginning-of-the-season nerves. I revert to that defensive position when I am tense. However, it was a productive session. We ran through the test twice and the second time, while not mistake-free and still featuring my hunched shoulders, was considerably better. Amy emphasized elasticity in my arms and creating some bounce in his step.
Then today we did a cross country school at lovely Jumping Branch. It now seems obvious that our technical skills are up to the task. We did the first half or so of last year's Training course and the number of times when Taco has to step up and fix my mistakes was very small compared to a year ago! My main problem is-- surprise-- nerves, and I was very anxious before the session. So the point of today was to build my confidence and get me galloping over things. I'm happy to report that it went quite well! By the end of the session I had done several things that had looked scary to me, and Taco made it clear that he is still his wonderful bold self. We warmed up, then did an assortment of gallop fences, then some downhill/ terrain questions, and then wound up at the water practicing a four-element combination. Amy wanted me to really work on keeping Taco between my aids and I felt a wonderful connection on the approaches to the fences. I felt silly for having been so nervous at the beginning, and ready for whatever is on the course this weekend.
We barely beat the rain today, and tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, too. We'll try to get a light ride in in the morning. Now to bed-- and I am sure I will be asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow!
4 hours ago