Gather yourselves closer, my little droogies, and I shall tell you a tale of progress and goodness and speed and balance and such excitement that it made my nipples stick right out with excitement.
OK, I know that’s two excitements in one sentence, but that’s how it was.
The nipple perkiness is still with me.
(Cue Darth Vader-like voice and much heavy breathing – but in a good way – saying: ‘The nipples are strong with this one’)
If you have listened to this week’s podcast you will know that things did not go well for us at Eland Lodge Horse Trials last week.
And if you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast, why not? It’s excellent. And the music will rock your underpants off you and right out the door.
Anyway, I digress.
So in a desperate bid to put our level of work (our being Big Vin and I) back to where it:
a) was before Eland Lodge and
b) where it should rightfully be…
We Have Been Schooling.
Flatwork schooling; to recapture the balance and rhythm we had before things went (to use the technical equestrianist phrase) completely fucking tits up.
In a nutshell we’ve just been working on our canter; transition up to the pace, transition down from the pace and much, much, much work on the pace itself. Because the canter is where it all went wrong in the show jumping at Eland Lodge.
Infuriatingly every single moment of our schooling, each and every footfall has been perfect. None of the issues that plagued us last weekend have reappeared.
So today I took things one step further, set up two fences in the arena, tacked Vin up in jumping kit and…
Despite the two fences standing in the arena he remained as perfect as he has been.
So on one movement, completely satisfied with our flatwork schooling, I turned a half circle to the first fence, sat quietly and he popped over it in a beautiful bascule – without changing his stride or pace, and without wrenching my arms out of my sockets.
And we landed in balance and harmony and turned a canter half-circle away.
We worked for half an hour over the two fences – individually as a pair and using rein-changes, as a course.
He didn’t tank off once.
He didn’t flatten and hurdle them as he did last weekend.
We stayed in balance, we remained a partnership – a team of jumping ability focussed on the task in hand and nothing else.
Not once did we hit a fence down (much unlike last weekend!).
Sue, from the sidelines, said the problem might be with me; competition nerves.
Maybe, she said, I’m tensing him, I’m over-riding him, I’m being too firm with my ‘come on’ aids and that is what has turned him in to a racehorse (once again).
She might be right.
Actually, I’m now – having thought about it for the last hour or so – totally convinced she’s right.
So that’s the problem identified.
Next step in the plan is to fix it.
Watch this space.
Well no, not literally dude.
If you just sit there until the world stops spinning, staring at the screen, you’ll go a little gaga.
Or a lot gaga.
I’ll keep you in touch.