This week, Vitall really showed me how important balance is in training. This was my first lesson training with Anky again and it was good. She said that his frame looked much better which meant that I had improved some things while she was away which was nice to hear. That said, I still struggle a bit with him leaning too much through the left side and blocking the left flexion. Anky just told me not to worry about staying so much on the straight line and bend him on a circle in travers positioning. He let go when I put his shoulder to the outside and bent him around my inside leg – much more supple again.
Through the week we continued working on making him supple and soft through transitions. He is now nice and quick off my leg and responds to my first half halts not 6 half halts later. Even though riders are always half halting, you want to be able to do it a little softer each time and not a heavy hand. Origianlly, I had to do 2-3 “strong” half halts with Vitall before my “soft” half halt would work. Once this all became more solid we put him up into show frame and starting doing a bit more test work. The test work and show frame are now like clock work with no ups/downs it – all stays in one rhythm. We worked on this for at least two days and by the end of the second day it was starting to feel like very steady. I could sit there and enjoy it. It’s those moments when you can breath for a second and say to yourself… Ahh this is why I ride.. I love those moments! It’s these split second feelings that always remind you why we do what we do. It’s a reminder that all the hard work pays off.
Also this week, we had the future test training here the Grand Prix for under 25. So I got to watch all the up and coming talent and their horses. It was very interesting. I also saw one of the girls I did Young Rider World Cup with in 2006. Sjef worked with all the up and comers and their coaches. Each rider was really pleased at the end. I know I certainly got to see a lot.
This week is also the team training for the Dutch Team preparing for Kentucky. It’s inches away now so it’s crunch time for all the riders. I asked Anky if I could come with her and that might be a possibility. Hopefully I can go, it certainly would be very, very educational. I have lots of educational things planned for this week. Next weekend there is this event called the Horse event put on by the Bartel Academy. It is similar to the Global Forum but focused more on demonstrations then lectures. It’s on for 3 days but I’m only planning to go on Sunday. My friend Sara is also coming on Wednesday so it will be a good activity for both of us to attend. When she is here we will be busy, between me training here and going to see her stallion which is stabled about 45 min away at IPS horse group.
Lots going on over the next few weeks :). Sadly it is getting cold here already. I have broken out my sweaters and had to drag Vitall’s light blankets out so he doesn’t freeze in the evenings. I told Sara to make sure she brings jackets… but between her and I both we are Jacket queens. Sara will also be here for the Anky winter sample sale! We will get plenty of shopping done :). Can’t ask for more my second favorite hobby.. SHOPPING.