I’ve had a couple of kicked my butt weeks. The switch from having the summer off to going back to work full time is always a bitter pill to swallow. It’s not that I don’t like working, I do. Teaching is very rewarding – usually. It’s the fact that August and September afternoons are still flipping hot, 100 degrees hot, and I just can’t do that to myself or my boys. After not having ridden mid-week for two straight weeks though, Friday’s heat was finally tolerable enough to ride. 
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Can you tell it’s 100 degrees?

Somewhere along the way, Izzy has grown up. I think it happened last March. Of course, once fall and winter hit, I expect some of his jackassery to return, but until then, I am having the most rewarding rides.

As I continue up the levels with Speedy, I occasionally think of the adage show a level below what you school. I’ve always found that idea to be arrogant. If I knew how to do the movements above where we are, I’d be schooling them. But since I am learning right along with Speedy, we show right where we are schooling. 

It’s different with Izzy. Now I know what a leg yield should feel like. The same for a shoulder in. I know how much bend I should look for in the half pass, and I know that a change of lead through trot is setting him up for flying changes. As I was schooling him on Friday afternoon, I laughed when I realized that the only “movement” from training level that we were schooling was the stretchy trot. I now finish my rides on both boys with long and deep stretches.

Since it was 100 degrees, I kept the ride pretty short. We did a quick walking warm up, focusing on being really round and deep with lateral flexion. From there, we did a few 20-meter trot circles with changes of bend across the diagonal. I also asked him to lengthen his stride. We did a few leg yields followed by some trot half pass to get a change of direction. That took care of the trot work.

I followed the trot work up with a few trot to canter transitions and then did some changes of lead through trot. Next was the canter half pass to check on his suppleness. And since we don’t have a flying change yet, I rode the counter canter along the short side and then did a few more changes of lead through trot.

So now, I can actually show several levels below what we school. Our 21-minute ride had movements from First, Second, and Third Levels. It’s a lot easier when you already “know” what you’re doing.

Here are a few clips of what we worked on over the weekend.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we went to another show on Sunday! More on that tomorrow.