February 27, 2012: I did just a bit of jumping today -- this time working to get Gamble confident doing spreads. The largest fence we need to do at Training level is 3'5" with a maximum 3'7" spread. Today I put the spread of the oxer at 4', and moved the height from 2'6" up to 3'0. Gamble cleared everything with ease. Next time, I'll move it up to 3'3. I concentrated on Energy, Straightness, Balance and Rhythm, as per the Hyde Moffat clinic!
February 25, 2012: Tracy and I have been working away at Gamble's dressage and we've come a long way. So we thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to take him in a schooling show at Kilbyrne Farm to see how things translated in a judged test. Here are the videos:
Looking at them again and in detail, I'm still pretty happy. Lots of little things on which to work, but overall not bad tests. Need to continue to work on "up" transitions, making sure he doesn't get too low, and working to get his hindquarters under him more.
11 weeks until the first Event!
February 2, 2012: Dressage lesson with Tracy today. We worked on the standard stuff -- smooth transitions and keeping his head low and his back round -- but we also worked on keeping his head supple. I want to be able to move his head in any direction, even if just for a moment, as I walk, trot or canter around the ring. I did several serpentines around the width of the arena, ensuring he was dead straight in the centre of the arena, but flexible on each of the turns. I also worked on riding _not_ along the outside wall, but 3 or 4 feet in from the wall, so that he listens to my aides as to where to go and to be arrow-straight along the long side. We did a lot of work on up and down transitions (walk-trot-walk, halt-trot-halt) to keep him busy and "guessing" (not anticipating) and listening. It was a really good lesson -- and the serpentines, particularly, helped me to do very fluid loops when we actually did the test. We still need to work on trot-canter transitions to keep Gamble keeping his head low, but the down transitions were excellent.
February 1, 2012: I was away on Cruise to Run 2012 with Jenny for the past week, so it had actually been 12 days since I rode Gamble. Tracy had ridden him several times while I was gone, what was good. Tonight I jumped him over a vertical -- starting at 2'6", then 3'0" and then 3'6". I worked on keeping him straight, balanced and with rhythm and energy -- the four things Hyde Moffat had us working on during the clinic in December. Because the jump was dead centre in the middle of the arena, I jumped at a slight angle for some of the jumps, but it was not an issue. Gamble cleared everything no sweat -- he never knocked a pole the whole night.