Owen has really been outdoing himself as of late but I mean this in the nicest possible way. A couple of rides ago we were able to ride the entire PSG test, including the five three tempis. Today I threw the Manorgrove on him and he was again able to repeat the three tempis with very little warm up. We've gotten to the point where part of our canter warm up is a few zig zags and he gets the double canter pirouettes on the first try. We've also been able to ride the GP canter zig zag, which really was a lot of fun despite the fact that I kept losing count of the strides...4-8-8-8-4 is it?
We had a big breakthrough when he learned that an uber-collected canter is nothing more to worry about than piaffe and I would ask him to collect entirely off of my seat rather than using the reins at all. Once Owen would canter in collection on a loose rein toward the barn I knew he was ready for the tempis. True, he still sometimes gets worked up after the 4th change in a row but in general he is managing.
I used to use flat areas on the trails and along the fields to practice passage, but now we do changes. The other day we were cantering through tall grass in one of the hay fields with a strong 30 mph tail wind, resulting in some pretty hot action on the part of Owen...his legs were going like pistons, his body lurching backwards and forwards like a rocking horse. Good thing there's no one around who also rides dressage since I would have been mortified should anyone knowlegable see us since Owen was proinging through the grass like a springbok...so much for Classical Dressage!
As it is, the only people who ever see us ride are the totally non horsey neighbors who are in reality city folk who have moved out to experience the country. The sight of Owen flinging himself around and snorting like a freight train only fills them with awe..."oh, isn't he gorgeous..." they gasp over the incessant barking of their golden retriever as Owen does his best to stomp his way to China through the turf.
Still, he is far better than he's ever been...and yet, at the moment I have no desire to show whatsoever. Barb Thelan and I have some demos planned and Jeannie has some plans for us to form an all sidesaddle group to compete in the regional adult team dressage championships later this summer. But aside from that, I think Owen and I might just be homebodies this year.