Well, improvement anyways. I got a score on Saturday, wohoo! And all my hard work while riding last week really paid off! I think improving is a good measure of success. Winning is always nice to, but for me right now, at the (very low) level that I'm at, improving is the name of the game. We definately improved! Besides me actually remembering the pattern, and thus earning a real score and placing, we really improved over our last ride! I was very, very pleased!
I decided my goals for this show were to improve our stop and back. Our circles, rating and lead changes were satisfactory for now, but our stop and back at the last show were just bad. Last week we did the flag clinic that got Midori rocking back over her hocks and using her butt a bit more when she stopped. I needed to translate that to rail work and doing that from just my seat, without the encouragement of the flag. My big goal now is to get her stopping and backing from just my seat and a little bit of leg. She used to have the stop, but for some reason, I'm more of a legs for gas and reins for steering and brakes rider whenI'm drilling. It drives me nuts. I work so hard on using my seat and legs and then when I'm focused on drill over the summer, it all goes to hell. I'm still not sure why I can't cross that bridge, to riding with my body and subtle cues, while I'm drilling. Also, Midori's reverse has always been a bit sticky, sometimes flat out refusing to back, always with her head in the air and always using my hands as the cue and legs for encouragement. No more! I'm changing my ways! When I sit on my pockets, my horse will plant her butt, stop and back until I sit up. I think that's the way it works anyways. I may need to double check Mug's blog and the multiple reining books that I have at home.
Friday when I rode that was pretty much all that I focused on, responding to my seat. I did go thru and do the whole rest of my usual riding routine, but my main focus for the entire ride was stopping from my seat and beginning to back up with some encouragement from my legs. We did a lot of stops, lots of backing, lots of roll backs. It was actually a really fun and productive ride. Midori is very smart and by the end of the ride she was backing, almost enthusiastically, from my seat and some leg. Her head was still in the air, but I think that will come when she really realizes I'm not going to be on her face the whole time I'm asking her to back.
Saturday when we got to the show, I could tell the difference when we warmed up. She was listening to every move I made, almost reading my mind at some points. She was so responsive and would just plant her butt as soon as I sat down. YES! Our run was good. Not fabulous, but way better then last time. I did get a little nervous again, which got Midori amped up so I had a bit of trouble getting her to rate for the first slow circle, but our lead changes were decent, we actually hit center on the circles, and our run down, stop and back were soooo much better! Unfortunately, I was so intent on getting the stop and back done right that I ended up running down the wall, instead of staying off of it. That cost me. Oh well, I really didn't care! We improved so much over our last run, that was all that mattered to me! Ok, almost all that mattered to me. I should admit that I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed that we didn't place higher, but it was still a good run! We ended up getting 4th out of 8. There was a lot more competition there this time.
It was a good show and a good weekend.
Goals for the next show:
1. Continue to work on stopping and backing
2. Find some way to relax before I go in!
3. Get to work on moving her hips! Her hips seem to be her stickiest body part for me to move right now. Probably why I can't ever get her to do a flying lead change. Or atleast that'll be my excuse for now.