Now that I have a minute, I can finally put together a blog post about the past few weeks. In actuality I did already write this blog, but somehow it became deleted! I found myself back in my college days with frustration on my document not having been saved.
Anyway! The boys and I are nearing the final week of our time here and I am finding it hard to believe we have been here for over 11 weeks already. The time has flown by! We will have a long 16hour(knowing traffic it'll be 20+) and 1200 mile trek home at the end of next week, but thankfully my dad is generously flying down to help me make the trip this time. I think the boys are in some ways looking forward to going home and having a bigger field and less bugs, but I suspect we are all going to be a bit shocked by the weather initially. I figured I would fill everyone in on the past two weeks before I make a post about everything that I learned this season and an overall recap of this experience.
I made the kind of last-minute decision to show my five-year-old Monty after all. I have ridden him with Oded a few times and he has become increasingly focused on work away from home. Previously, he had been a bit sheltered and with the convenience of White Fences being a literal 5 min trailer ride from where we are staying was too easy to pass up. Of course, we tried the schooling show first, and while the flowers around the arena and the judging standing up and sitting down were terrifying, we had an overall confidence building experience. Last weekend I took him to the rated show and while are scores were far from impressive, especially given his age, I was pleased with how much his confidence and rideability grew each day. I opted to take him at Training level Test 3 which is really quite simple for him as most days he schools most of the 1st and some 2nd/3rd movements. He needed greater relaxation and connection to score higher, but I really feel in time with the training we will have a lovely upper-level horse. He was a true cake walk in comparison to how Lumie was when I began showing him!
Speaking of Lumie, we have been hard at work in our pirouettes and trot development. The pirouettes are a bit slower progress; Oded has gotten on him a few times and really come to the right place in them, but it takes me a bit more time to find the same place. Regardless Lumie is slowly becoming stronger and more confident in the movement, and I am gaining lots of tools to add to the toolbox. His trot work is really developing nicely, and we are gradually finding more a passage feeling in the half-halts. Oded really is very helpful in keeping me from bringing my hands back and reminding me to give them forward and to always thinking of pushing. This is pivotal in the Harness horses because otherwise their necks become much too short and often, they drop the back and stop driving from the hindquarters.
We used what we had learned from the last show and our lessons in our ride in the FEI Prix St George and had the most rideable FEI test to date. I was really pleased with the test as a whole. It was not yet everything we can make it, but the rideability and adjustability within the test leaves me feeling more and more optimistic. I finally felt like I could ride the test, instead of just survive it. I am really pleased with Lumie's work ethic and how focused he has become in the competition ring-- it has been a long road to him getting there. Here is the link to the test for any wanting to watch: Brynne Varvel 03.19.23.MP4 (dropbox.com)
I will have more soon-- hopefully I will be able to find time next week between the last few lessons and the packing!