|no excuses servant, just open the gate|
Carmen wasn't too impressed to be left behind but didn't make too much of a fuss. I mounted outside of the barn and rode up to the ring. He was tense and a bit excited so I started him off with lots of bending and suppling exercises. He was very stiff in the trot so we cantered for a bit and he loosened right up. I was glad to be wearing spurs- not to get him going but to help him bend and straighten. It's not so easy for him but letting him work crooked is not going to help in the long run. When he was soft, supple and nicely forward I decided to practice Training Level Test 1. This is one of the tests I have planned for Carmen at our first show and I wanted to see how it rode. I figured it would be easy for him. Irish and I made it to 2nd level before his neuro issues became a problem.
Here's how the test went:
I picked up a trot and entered at A. As we headed down the centre line I felt Irish come alive.
Irish: We're doing a test aren't we?
Me: yes but don't get excited
Irish: We ARE. I just knew it!
X- halt through walk
Irish: Where's the judge? What about my fans? I don't see them!
C- track Left. E - circle left 20 metres
Me: contain yourself, it's a simple circle not the Indy 500
Irish: what's that? Is it a REALLY BIG SHOW?
A- circle left 20 metres picking up a canter in first quarter of circle
As we made our way towards A Irish started to bounce.
Irish: Canter, we're going to canter
Me: Wait for it
Irish: can-ter, can-ter, CANTER CANTER CANTER
And he cantered, well before A. I brought him back and asked him to canter right after A.
He was nice and forward on the circle.
uh oh I thought.
Irish: I know what's coming next!
A-F-B working canter
Me: no you don't.
Irish: YES I do!
There's no lengthen in this test.
Yes there is. Watch me fly!
No. No. No. Just canter. No lengthen
Here we go- wheeeeeeeeeeee
Despite my half-halts and, quite frankly, death grip on the reins he went down the long side with every bit of lengthen in his 16 year old, out of shape, arthritic being. We flew with no signs of the aforementioned age, out of shapeness or arthritis. .
Between B and M working trot.
Irish: Bit abrupt that. Should have more warning- it's hard to go from lengthen canter to trot. What were the writers thinking?
Me: They were thinking that it was WORKING CANTER.
C-E walk. E-F free walk on the long rein.
As we walked by H Irish tried to cross the diagonal on the free rein
Irish: hellooo? You missed the turn.
Me: Not until E.
Irish: Well that seems late.
A- Working Trot
Irish: and we're off!
E- Circle right 20 metre
Irish: now for the wind up
Me: wind up? what wind up? there will be no winding.
C- circle 20 meters developing canter in first quarter of circle
Irish: compressing energy, getting ready....
Me: For pity's sake. There is NO lengthen in this test.
C-M-B- working Canter.
Irish: wheeeeee. Look at me- I'm pegasus.
Me: fine. yes you are pegasus. The noblest of beasts.
Irish: I know, right?
A- down centre line
Irish: hey didn't do lengthen trot. Let's do it now.
X- Halt salute
Irish stopped on the dime. I was almost propelled up his neck.
He was thrilled with himself. We cooled out and then walked back to the barn. We passed Carmen and Irish strutted.
Did you see me? Now THAT'S how it's done.
Carmen: see what? did you get any grass?
This guy can still make me laugh.