As predicted by my husband, we had exactly one day of Fall here in the Midwest. We went from highs in the 80's, to one day of 70, straight to 50's, with a chilling wind and lots of rainy days. Sigh. So anyway, that is that, and moving on to Winter plans for Jet and myself.
When the weather is wet/icy I am restricted to my teeny-tiny indoor for months at a time, which is kind of a drag. The bonus side though, is that I can do some more challenging and interesting things without worrying about outside atmosphere. I also feel like this year I locked down how to transition this particular spooky horse from inside to outside and how to prep for shows, for both things using the TRT Method ground work refresher and usually taking only a day or two. Because of this, I'm less bummed about being stuck inside and more focused on how I can use the smaller space effectively.
So, what is the Winter plan you ask? Well, I'd like to do some bitless riding again, maybe transitioning into bridleless with a neckrope, and also I'd like to try bareback with a bit. Only with the doors shut mind you, but still challenging on a very basic level and mixing things up for Jet. On the straight dressage front, since we competed fairly successfully at Training this year with average scores in the mid-high 60's, I'd like to compete at First next year. The 2019 tests have come out and they are pretty move up friendly I think. The things we really lack for First are a bit more uphill frame and a bit more energy without tension. The balance is a successful work in progress, see previous posts, and the energy can be tackled using transitions and the energy exercise. Really, for me as a rider, it's sitting on my elbows, following with my hips, and changing my focus upward. For Jet it's tons of transitions, walk lateral work, squares, and 2-3 steps of lengthen and back. Jet has all the movements in First easily, he just needs more ooomph and uphill without becoming a lunatic. Nothing earth shattering, just asking for a bit MORE.
Because of how DLSC classes work, I will probably show one Training class and one First class per show next year. I will run through the new tests in the Spring and pick the tests that suit him best and go from there, working toward the year end awards. I can't quite believe next year will be my third year of showing J, the horse I thought I would never get relaxed enough to show. I know we are only doing a local schooling show series but he has come so far, so willingly, that I could not be more pleased.