Well, quite a bit has happened since my last post!
The nitty-gritty of it all is 3-fold.
1 – After a brief discussion with Lesley, we agreed that Cotton’s canter is just not going to get any better until his hind end – especially his left hind – gets stronger. We will not be able to progress with our jumping until he can sustain a quality canter for a decent length of time. Which means someone would have to ride him at least 4 days every week.
2 - After an in-depth discussion with Jim about our budget, I agreed to stop taking lessons for the time being – but just for the time being. Which also knocked out any possibility of my being able to pay someone on a regular basis to help me condition Cotton.
3 - After another in-depth discussion with Jim about why he bought me this horse in the first place, he has fully embraced my desire to compete and my need to spend more time riding Cotton so I can get him in shape so I can compete.
So… with Lesley’s help (she has agreed not to abandon me during my financial “crises”!) I have Cotton on a 4 day conditioning program with a 5th day thrown in when I can do it. I am already into my 2nd week of riding 5 days!
We are doing lots of “power walking”! Going in slow-mo has allowed me to work on my position and on Cotton’s position. Before, the walk was a boring thing I had to do before I could really start my ride – now I can feel how he throws his shoulder even at the walk and I am taking the time to correct it.
The first thing I realized is that I have ignored so many important details because I have been in such a rush to get to a competition! We are reviewing the basics.
The second thing I realized is that nothing is better than time in the saddle. And I am doing it mailman style – “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays (this rider) from the swift completion of (my) appointed rounds”! Cotton tried to bail out on me at the mounting block last week but I was determined not to let the tornadic winds and pelting rain do me in! (Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad)
So – there you have it. If Cotton and I can’t be ready for an event this spring I am switching to western pleasure…