I got to the barn bright and early on this beautiful day, but no Olli. This is the second time this has happened. There is no schedule written down anywhere, and no one seems to know what is going on, other than Olli. I asked one of the grooms if he was coming this morning, to which I got her standard answer to almost every questions – ummm…I don’t know. Maybe? I asked another young rider in the barn who said he and Antin were at a show, and she had an 8:00 ride, so they should be back fairly soon. Then after some more investigating, it was determined that maybe he was coming in around 2:00pm.
So, I went ahead and rode Floriscount and Four Seasons. I don’t want to take advantage of these wonderful horses, but I do want to take advantage of this opportunity to ride said wonderful horses, so I worked on pretty much everything with both of them. My love of Four Seasons is already well documented, but I have to gush about Floriscount a little. What an unbelievable animal! Not only is he stunningly beautiful, he is just an all around dreamboat. He is so sweet to groom and very polite and SUCH a nice ride – soft, elastic, sensitive but not too hot. My other rides on him have just been very brief light workouts. I let him walk for a long time today and then did some really stretchy trot and some forward canter in a light seat. He is such a supple guy, both laterally and longitudinally. We then worked on canter. He wants to be a bit crooked to the left, with haunches in and shoulders out. This is true of pretty much every single horse that I EVER ride (so maybe I have something to do with it???) and I have learned a good lesson here, which is to think of the crookedness as a R shoulder problem, not a L hind problem. I always feel horses crooked in this way and think – ugh! That Left Hind! Always falling in! But then I push it out (over and over and over) and never really get them straight because it’s the R shoulder, and the R rein connection, that is really the problem. When the shoulder falls R, of course the haunches fall L, or at least they feel like they are to the L. When I worked for Lilo Fore, and a horse was too heavy in one rein, she was always adamant that is was the OTHER rein (that they didn’t take enough) that was the problem, not the heavy one. This is what I have to tell myself when I feel this straightness problem. Instead of thinking, damn LH falling in! I need to think – R rein controls R shoulder.
Anyway, back to the Dreamboat. We did the Steffen Peters exercise of a diamond (E to C, C to B, B to A, A to E) with quarter pirouettes approaching A and C then did half pirouettes. He has an amazing canter and very easy pirouettes as long as he is really straight before them. He didn’t seem to recognize this exercise, but it was a good one for controlling the start and being able to ride out after only a few strides and back onto a very straight line. We took a walk break in between working each side, then another walk break before riding some changes. I tried to sit into him and very still and just think of each new inside seat bone heading a little toward his inside ear. This way I stay really centered over his back and don’t think L and R, just very slightly R seat bone in the direction of his R ear in the change to the R, then same to the L. He has such a big canter, it’s good to practice really sitting and staying “plugged in” with my seat bones, otherwise he tosses you a bit out of the saddle.
I then rode some trot and really nice shoulder in and half passes. His half pass to the L is like something out of a dream. To the R is harder because of the L Hind (no, RIGHT SHOULDER) but still pretty amazing. I rode one trot extension, because why the hell not. Then a little passage and then loads of petting and walking an telling him he was the most amazing thing since sliced bread.
Next I rode Four Seasons outside, since it was a gorgeous day. (Or “so hot” as one girl in the barn said. Honey, you don’t now what hot is…) He felt super and very relaxed. I could get him to stretch WAY down in trot and then we did forward canter in a light seat, which he loved. I did a similar routine with him, riding the diamond exercise for the canter pirouettes. I then rode the changes, and since I was in a big arena, I tried to ride REALLY straight, REALLY well placed 3s and 2s. The change to the R is not as easy as to the L, so I had a couple mistakes in the twos the first time around but then a very nice line of 7, and I felt like I could place #4 right at X.
I decided I would ride pieces of the GP, because why the hell not? I got the trot feeling nice and rode an extension (whoa! haven’t done one of those on Fritzy yet – hold on!!) and then steep half passes. I ended up riding the half passes a few times with a volte in between them to get him balanced again and not running away. When those were good we took a walk break then rode the extended walk to collected walk across the short side to passage at M, then passage-piaffe-passage and then into canter at E. I just made the canter feel good and then came back to trot at M, like in the GP, then extension and then a centerline of passage-piaffe-passage. He felt super, and I feel like, with time, we could put that test together without too much trouble. I took him for a long walk all around the property and tried to get him to eat grass, but he is way too well trained to do such a thing…
This afternoon Daniel and I went to Dusseldorf to pick Linda up – she went to France for a few days to visit a friend and is now back with a us for a few more days. We walked along the promenade next to the Rheine and shared some chocolate ice cream, although Daniel is not so great at sharing yet, so he got most of it. Then we headed to the airport and got there early enough to go up on the observation deck and watch the planes take off and land. He loved it!