I've got my first official, sponsored competition coming up this Sunday, and am starting to feel a bit nervous!!
I had a lovely ride this morning before work though to settle the nerves. Kept it very simple, just basic walk, trot and canter with simple transitions, no laterals etc. Just straight, forward and between the aids. It was definitely beneficial for both of us, as I realised how much I was not using half halts to keep him together. He reacts very well to a half halt through the right rein, not so good with reactions to the left rein as he does not want to take enough contact on it.
I could sit on him very well once I got his back and he started getting off his shoulders through turns. I'm feeling like I'm sitting into him rather than on him now, there is a response to what I do with my seat, compared to when I first got him 2 months ago he had no clue about staying with the rider's seat.
I'm also doing a lot of work on getting him to give through his shoulders, thinking of bending through the ribs. He wants to turn like a ship, quarters out shoulders in, or shoulders out quarters in, rather than bending. This is especially a problem in walk. So lots of shoulder fore, moving him around my inside leg, and keeping those half halts coming through on the ouside rein to regulate his speed.
Canter work is very good, I need to work on not throwing my reins away into the transition though. He gets heavy in the upwards and I give my reins out without really realising it. So I've been really focussing on keeping my reins, and making him come back to me, rather than me giving in and giving him the rein.
This little adjustment has improved the canter work enormously and I feel like I have so much more tempo control.
Another ride in the morning, a lesson on Saturday and then off to compete on Sunday.