“His changes are lovely!”

by Equestriangradstudent

Said the clinician I rode with today. Unexpected? Most definitely. Avery’s changes are not lovely, in my opinion. In fact, they feel rather hostile most of the time.

A little background: the dressage showing class held a fundraiser so they could bring in a clinician. The woman who they brought in is a graduate of the school who runs an eventing barn. She was here to run though their dressage tests in preparation for the end-of-term show. I got to ride both of my horses in it (thanks to my wonderful groom Becca) and was surprised both by how well they went and how much positive feedback the clinician had for me.

The clinician, Stevie, rode Avery yesterday in staff class. I didn’t get to watch because I was riding Abs in a different arena, but when she brought him back in the barn she said she had a lot of fun with him. That’s also when she said he has lovely changes (maybe he likes her better than he does me). He must have been on his bestest behaviour!

I rode Abs first. She was a bit stiff at first but very willing. After a short warm-up, we left the dressage square to watch the other riders in the group do their tests. After the students went, it was my turn. I wanted to run though USEA Training Test A. I had been schooling pieces of it for the last week but had yet to put it together. Stevie and I talked briefly about my goals and why I chose that test, then I rode through it. I was quite impressed with the responses I got. I had said that our transitions needed work and that we had no 15 meter canter circles, but my little mare proved me wrong. The circles were quick and unbalanced, but they were 15 meters! After the test Stevie had me go through the lengthenings again to improve the difference between the working and lengthened gait. It got much better, but Abs was getting tired. Today was the first truly hot day we’ve had. It was made worse by the bit of a cold snap we just came out of. From a high of 55 yesterday to a high of 90 today. And of course my rides were at the hottest part of the day.

After that I switched horses (Becca had the Wavy man ready and waiting outside the arena…such a good groom!) to ride in the next group. Same deal, short warm up before running through tests. Because I have no plans to compete Avery soon, I did not have a test in mind. When it was my turn, I asked Stevie what she felt he needed to work on based on her ride yesterday. We ended up working on collected trot, getting him softer in the higher frame. That has definitely been a struggle because he is a stiff horse. For some reason, he’s quite happy to collect in the canter but wants to fling himself on the forehand and run in the trot. We got some very nice transitions between collected, medium and stretching trot. I think I’m going to take this summer to solidify those more “basic” things (but it is fun to do the fancy canter work, which is probably why we have a working pirouette but no collected trot) and maybe even start working toward passage and piaffe!

Yes, it was a fabulous day with the ponies today. I love them very much!

I’ve only got three weeks left here. My horses head to our new home on the 29th (two weeks) and I start my new job on the 5th (three weeks). I’ll travel down with them and move some stuff, then head back here to finish up the quarter here. How weird is that?

It pains me to say this, but I will miss this place. Not everything, because mostly it sucked. But there were some good people, good horses, good times. Certainly learned a lot. Rose-coloured glasses, ey? Gah, this sentimentality is making me sick.

Oh, before I go…this journal needs a new name! Since I will no longer be at the Manor, there’s no point in keeping the Life at the Manor title. I don’t want to make a new one, that takes too much effort, but perhaps I’ll figure out how to use this thing so I can accurately name/store my adventures. Any tips on how to organize that switch would be fantastic, as I’m fairly limited in my WordPress knowledge.


…Yeah, I totally Tigger’d you (and now the Winnie the Pooh theme song is stuck in my head).