We have one more dressage show in October to qualify for year end awards. I’ve been focusing this season on harmony and partnership with good results, but I think it is time to start pushing gymnastic development a bit to improve Jet’s gaits. Don’t get me wrong, Jet has made big improvements this season in balance, going from slightly downhill balance, to horizontal, to being uphill some of the time. All while being correct in his biomechanics, but now it is time to start working on bending/engaging those hind legs a bit more and having slightly more energy. The exercises I will add in are:
*shoulder-in to haunches-out to counter shoulder-in to haunches-in at the walk
*shoulder-in or haunches-in at the walk to a few steps of straight trot, repeating
*half circle to half pass at walk and then trot
*trot shoulder-in to haunches-out, repeating
*rein back to canter 10m circle to slight shoulder-in long side to counter-canter loop to 10m circle
Obviously not all of these every single ride, but sprinkled in after our warmup that seems to work for us, and also adding in a few pieces of the First Tests as appropriate. We’ve touched on all of this stuff repeatedly but never actually used it to strengthen and improve. We’ll keep doing in-hand work, poles, and pasture walk abouts as before. About two weeks from the show we will start doing test run throughs and add in the mock judge’s the week of the show. Hopefully, we can keep the harmony and willingness but get those shoulders lifted a bit with some more hind end engagement. I think the biggest issue will be me pushing for too much too quickly, so I will try to keep an eye on that. We shall see!