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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After that eye-opening picture that Ted took of me at the clinic last weekend, and seeing some video of how my position has deteriorated as of late, I decided I needed a new plan of action. My idea was that instead of focusing on her in the warmup, I needed to focus on ME, and really work on keeping my position classical and correct. I hopped on today for my lesson fully focused on this idea, and I had it in my head very strongly that it would be the perfect idea. And what do you know, I was right.

Focusing on my position almost exclusively had a lot of benefits. First, it got my mind off of the actual warmup itself. Instead of focusing on what she was doing, I was paying complete attention to myself, which gave her time to fuss a little and wiggle a little and settle into herself, without the risk of ticking her off by manipulating her front end. I made it a very stern point with myself that I was going to be as correct as possible, and that meant that there was a solid wall in font of me that my hands could never come behind, which helped a lot when I wanted to 'help' her in the front end with reinplay. Wrong, incorrect, fail. Never the right answer, and I know that. The second thing that focusing on my position did was that the more correct I became, the clearer my parameters for her were, and the easier it was to correct her in a completely benign way. I didn't have to overcompensate for my own body anywhere, and she had no escape route to wiggle through subsequently. I gave her a channel with my legs and seat, and a set rein length, and she bounced between my legs like a pingpong ball until she finally got settled, and then sought my contact out like a perfect girl. And she was EXCELLENT once we got there. I dunno what exactly it is that happens... when she decides she wants to play, that is. But when she does, wow. She is ON and she is perfect for everything we do. She had moments where she wasn't quite as connected as she could have been, but it never felt like it was a resistance thing, it felt like she had slightly out-of-balance moments, and then she reconnected, and that was all. We fluidly flowed between gaits, within gaits, sideways, forward, you name it. It all felt so seamless. Days like today are why I love dressage. Even at the end, we had a stretchy circle that remained full of energy and impulsion, but with her nose almost in the dirt. It felt like riding a giant bouncing rubber ball. It was awesome.

Now, it's time to start completely perfecting our Novice tests. And, well... they're easy. They're REALLY easy. Novice B is pretty much exactly like the Training 3 test. The most important things are the quality of gaits, relaxation, and transitions. We're currently attempting to perfect our trot-canter transitions... more work needs to be done on this. We do them, and we do them well, but they're not as completely flawless as they should be. Transitions, transitions, transitions. So many transitions!

If we keep up this quality of work, I don't think Second level is out of the question by the end of this year.
What IS currently out of the question? Galloping this week. It's supposed to rain... and rain... and rain. For the next, oh I dunno, eternity. So much for galloping this week. We are headed to our second jumper show this weekend, and we'll still have our conditioning walk hack for the coming week, so that isn't all bad.

Oh Gogo, you're the best!!

EDIT: I also wanted to add that I ran at a pretty good clip for 1.75 miles today, and strolling along for another good long way enjoying the scenery, ending with about a 1/2 hour of work. That's a good start! And all the pushups and situps I did two days ago? Yeah... didn't feel that yesterday, but today I'm sore as. I'm such a weakling, I used to be crazy fit and strong!

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