Today I had a lesson after two weeks off from riding due to a terrible cold. The lesson went surprisingly better than any lesson has in the past. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I've been doing wrong in my riding. It seems that ever since I brought Finn home my riding ability has decreased. Because I've mostly ridden horses that are more finished than Finn is, I've picked up a lot of bad habits that he makes very obvious. Our biggest issue is connection. I just cannot seem to connect his hind end to his front end, and he ends up plodding around with his nose in the air, heavy on the forehand. I let my left rein go loopy, keep a good connection with my right hand, and pull his head to the right all the time. Today, for one of the very first times, I was able to keep consistent contact in both reins, and for a few fleeting moments push him forward into the contact into a beautiful frame. I could feel him coming through his back and not hollowing. My trainer was shocked at the change in my riding in just a few short weeks, and how persistent I was being with him. I told her that I was sick of babying him and feeling like he wasn't capable of much of anything. I was sick of not accomplishing ANYTHING in a year. I also just got a new saddle last month that has made a big difference in my riding and feeling centered and balanced. I've realized that if we're going to do anything this year I need to start pushing him, believing in him, and trusting my instincts. We're at a great barn now where the majority of the barn goes to shows, and I really want to accompany them with my horse.
In 2013 our major goal is to complete our first event together. The calendars for my area aren't up yet, but I know that Pipestave usually offers a very inviting event around July. http://www.wnrdc.com/index.cfm. This is definitely a possibility for us as I know a few girls from the barn school xc here and go to this event. I'd also like to go to a hunter pace, do a couple of schooling shows with him, and have my trainer ride him in a couple of shows. I really want to get off property and expose him to as much as possible. To the best of my knowledge he's never been to a show so it will be a real learning experience for him. The great thing about him though is that he's such a good boy and takes just about everything in stride. I love my horse, and it feels so good to say that.