Arrrrgh! Hoooow many times do I have to tell myself, "don't over prepare", "don't focus on one exercise and neglect others", "don't over tire your horse", "don't introduce new tack before a show", ... and yet that's exactly what I've done. Probably not a surprise to anyone who's read my navel gazing goal list and
goofle google calendar plan. Stop me before I ride again.
A month ago I felt quite confident that we were ready for Training Level. Rogo was going well although we'd missed a lot of time due to weather and flu. He'd gotten a little stiff to the left again, after being even for months (maybe I was stiff after lack of riding time, not him?) but everything was really quite nice and we were schooling most of Level One. Anyway, to get ready for the show, particularly Training Level test three which has a trot loop to the center line and back, I started doing the trot loop to the left every chance I got. In retrospect I see that I pretty much stopped going straight to the left, ever! Duh. Then guess what happened? Rogo thought all left long sides meant loops, so when I decided to ride test two and go straight he went down the long side counter bent. It didn't occur to me why until today, so geniusly I decided to put spurs on to get him to listen to my left leg better. Never mind that I've only worn spurs with him once for a few minutes months ago. As an aside I'll wear spurs in good time, and his gaits were brilliant, but they didn't fix the bending problem. No kidding, eh?
While trying to polish the bits and pieces of the test, I started riding more even though I'd made a promise to myself earlier to only do two hard days of training a week and have shorter / easier sessions or fun things the other days (free jumping, hacking), with lots of time off. So, with the extra work, his beautiful jumping canter disappeared to be replaced with a laboured hop that breaks when it shouldn't.
So far I've wrecked his straightness / evenness and his canter.
I did manage to salvage something today. I decided to get on and just walk circles and go large for a maximum of ten minutes. It was then that I realized what I'd done and why things had gone down hill. I insisted on straightness quite firmly and we got one long side trot to the left that was straight and I called it a day.
So, do I forget going to the show in approximately a month and go back to sane training and go to a show later in the summer, or see what I can salvage and go to the show now to get some miles on Rogo?I don't have a teacher right now, and it shows.