I've had to take up some serious drinking when I get home from work! Plus, one night I dreamed that Owen came up EIA positive on his Coggins and I had to put him down...I woke up in a horrible sweat!
Still, I've managed to get some saddle time in this week, and as usual the flying changes are my primary focus. I'm now seriously convinced that Owen's essential block to performing them is mental rather than physical, and while we can get three or four in a row, his brain does explode after a few minutes. I can feel his tension well up right through the saddle and the reins, and at that point it's time to take a break. We haven't progressed in number of changes nor frequency, but it does feel as if his changes are of a higher quality than they were before. I'm still flip flopping between aside and astride, but when riding astride I have abandoned spurs and ride in a simple snaffle, expecting Owen to respond to 90% weight aids. This has been such a boon when riding aside since he will now change with just a seat shift and barely needs any offside stick in any movement.
I'm still doing a lot of canter-halt-canter work, and sometimes just standing still is the most difficult part for Owen...on occasion I'll actually feel him tremble a bit, anticipating some sort of jump forward. When this happens I lengthen the reins and scratch his neck until he exhales and stretches down. This is a very slow process which can't be rushed, but I think we may finally be on the right track. I could just stick him in a double bridle and force the changes through, but it would be time poorly spent. I'm going to have to be patient, and if we don't show this year, we don't show!
But it's not like I don't have a lot going on otherwise. We just met with the architect and got a bid which fits our budget, so we're very close to submitting our plans to the county for approval...if all goes well, we'll be moving by summer.
|This is the southern elevation...lots of porches!|