What a week! Hamish feels amazing at the moment, I think the warmer weather, albeit only a few degrees, has made such a difference to his way of going.
On Wednesday, I had this sudden urge to jump. No idea where it came from, Hamish doesn’t jump anymore and I don’t really have the guts for it, so we’re a good combination! I generally like to keep all four feet on the ground. Hamish, on the other hand, absolutely loves jumping and I mean really loves it. His face lights up at the sight of the poles! Anyway, all that said, I thought you know what, Ham has been working super hard recently and maybe it would be nice for him to just have a bit of fun. We had some canter poles out on one long side and then a very teeny tiny jump up on the other long side off the track.
The canter poles proved to be quite exciting for Hammy, so we didn’t keep on at this too much (two or three times over them was enough) then we popped over the little jump twice (once in trot and once in canter). It was actually quite amazing how great his canter was after the jump. He really had so much more lift and flexibility in his hind legs, the canter felt strong, balanced and engaged from behind. Considering I went in the school that afternoon with no expectations to actually work on the canter, it was more just for fun, we actually achieved quite a lot. So I think we might try to fit this into our routine once a month now.
We have been able to hack in the evenings after work which has been so lovely! The sunny evenings had made for some lovely relaxing and dare I say it, warm rides. I have still been keeping our hacks relatively quiet, just walk and trot but it’s working for us. He’s starting to stride out really nicely in the walk, which in turn I hope will help the walk in the school (Oh, I do wish he could walk in the school like he does hacking!). He can have quite a stiff and choppy thoroughbred walk, so it’s nice to be able to work on this a little bit out hacking.
Onto a schooling update, Hamish feels great. I am so happy that the bitterly cold and wet weather seems to be behind us now (I think it is finally safe for me to say this without jinxing it!). It has been a hard winter when I look back over the last few month. The bitter cold, mixed with the wet has made it hard for him. Credit to Hamish, he has managed really well and he has been making improvements in his work all winter, but now all of a sudden he’s just stepped his game up. His trot feels stronger than before, he is really starting to push through into a nice contact with a more purposeful trot. With all of that said we are going to enter an online Prelim Dressage class for April. It has been a while since our last Prelim test and I think it would be really good to see what marks we are getting now in comparison.
So, we are now getting back into test riding. I haven’t done a lot of dressage (in fact, I had done none until winter 2016 when we went to my first intro dressage test locally). With dressage I felt I had finally found something I really, really enjoyed and wanted to do more of. After our last outing, Hamish placed 4th and I was so happy with the way he went I decided that would probably be the last time I took him out. The travelling and the show day itself was quite tiring for Hammy and I just felt that it wasn’t worth putting him under the pressure. But that hasn’t stopped us! Dressage Anywhere are fantastic, they run online classes each month with the BD tests which are judged by BD judges and I think it’s a really good way to keep test riding, be able to still compete and get comments from the judges without even having to leave the yard.
For those of you who might be interested in watching our last Prelim test, you can find it below. Once the next test is entered and judged, I will do a new post with the judges’ comments and link the video for you guys to see, hopefully you’ll see the difference in his work now.