I had a few issues with Kieran. Mostly because most everyone in our group rode in the class before mine so they all left and he was left alone (except the two ponies, but they were tied on the other side of the trailer and so didn't count as far as he was concerned). He made with a lot of swinging his butt around and dancing and calling for horses who didn't respond to him. ;) (the swinging the butt around thing is going to require a Come to Jesus moment, I think, as it's indicative of other pushy behavior that's been surfacing and I want to nip in the bud)
Anyway, by the time I got tacked up and got him up there, it was partway (I guess?) through our warmup time. And then he was a jerk about standing for mounting (this is really only something that can be fixed when we go places and I'm dependent on other folks for trailering) so by the time we got to warming up, we didn't have much time. I ended up being the first one in the class to go and did the 2007 Intro A test (could've done the new tests but wanted to do the old ones so I could compare with my scores from last time).
Here's how we did:
1. (5 points) Fairly straight entry. Maintain halt, some crooked steps after X.
2. (5 points) Counter bent
3. (6 points) Active trot steps, tight in back
4. (5 points) Good energy, bent outside
5. (6 points) Obedient transition. Clean rhythm.
6. (5 points) Head bent left. Needs more march and straightness (I think that's what she meant by "str")
7. (5 points) Prompt, but looking right
8. (5 points) Circle too large, but good energy.
9. (6 points) Overshot center line. Fairly square halt.
Willing, kind horse. Good tempo. Keep working on steering. Great potential.
Score: 54.5% (2 points higher than last time!)
So this time we had absolutely no problem being forward (and I attribute that a lot more to him being so antsy and "up"). And yeah, bending around corners and in the circles just plain sucked. He wanted so badly to get out back where his friends were, he wasn't really listening to me (and I would not be surprised if I was bracing with the outside rein exactly like I'm not supposed to do though I tried not to do that). Pretty sure I could've used more leg on him as well (inside leg, that is).
One thing the judge mentioned to me after the test was that when he did that, to not just use my leg the "normal" way but maybe try turning it inward so I'm sort of poking him with my knee/toe . I imagine she meant more as a way to fix it and not something I should do all the time but it sounds weird to me. Anybody else do anything like that?
After that, had to sit around a while waiting for next test, so we did some walking in circles in the driveway area and then he was finally willing to stand quietly, so we did that.
Then, another warmup, and this time I got to ride the entire warmup but it felt like he was only really getting loose and listening to me right at the end of it. Then it was time to clear out and I was like...third or fourth. I should've kept him moving outside, but since he was willing to stand quietly (and I was glad for that, as opposed to the dancing around we'd been doing earlier) I let him do that.
So this test was 2007 Intro B:
1. (7 points) Fairly straight and balanced halt.
2. (6 points) Help horse bend in corner.
3. (5 points) Circle not accurate, horse looking out.
4. (6 points) Broke on short side, fairly straight.
5. (5 points) Looking out but obedient.
6. (5 points) Allow horse to stretch. Better second half. (she told me after the test she really wanted to see us riding completely on the buckle but I was still keeping a bit of contact with his mouth because I was worried he'd try to duck out the door)
7. (6 points) Fairly fluid but looking out. Better than last test. Help horse bend in corner.
8. (6 points) Steady, straight, back more relaxed, but help in corner.
9. (8 points!) Straight and balanced halt.
Better! Keep working on correct bend and allow horse to stretch in free walk. :)
Score: 58.5% (12.5% higher than when I did this test three weeks ago!)
Again, we got about midway through and things seemed like they were settling into place. Christina and I suspect that he just needs a lot of time to warm up so he's not so stiff at the beginning (today in our lesson, we did just that and I think it helped).
Anyway, I ended up with a 2nd place ribbon for the first class and a 3rd for the second class. :) Kieran got a couple very large carrots.
There are pictures, but they were taken on someone else's camera so I have to wait until she sends them to me.
Today was lesson day and we did the long warm up like I said. (walking serpentines then trotting this pattern of teardrop shapes in the corners and 10 meter circles at E (or B, depending on which side we do it).
Basically, trot down toward H, then turn in a teardrop shape that has you hitting the wall again at E, then start a ten meter circle and then continue to K where you do another teardrop shape that brings you back to E and do a 10 meter circle and then continue on to H...
Basically gets him thinking about bending and listening to me. He does it much better on the HEK side than he does it on the MBF side (and since you end up doing it through both directions, I don't think it's a directional thing). Even Christina commented that we were staying on the wall better on the HEK side (and it's always like that).
We also did the barrel thing again to get him stretching his back legs under him.
Then we worked on cantering and lots of transitions. First we did cantering all the way around the ring, then twenty meter circles at A and C. Then she had us go back on the rail again and walk ten strides, canter ten strides, walk ten, canter ten (with the eventual idea that we'll shorten it even further) to get him really listening and jumping when I said to go. He did better at transitioning up than back down (kept wanting to trot on the way down).
Then Christina set up a cavaletti at X and had us do some trotting over it (probably just for the change of pace) and we did that from both directions and worked on getting Kieran really forward to it (so he'd pick up his dang feet!).
Then she had me do a short bit of cantering with no stirrups, then trot around the ring once with no stirrups (posting!), then we were done and it was time to cool out. I ended up taking off all his tack and letting him follow me around while I cleaned up the ring. He also took the opportunity to roll. And we played a bit with his ball (he's hilarious when he rubs his face on the ball and then yawns at me). After that, the day was pretty much done because everybody else that normally lessons is sick (and I'm on my way there, ugh).