I had to make a couple of hard realizations at the local show this last weekend; 1. My horse is not on the bit. 2. We are still a ways away from being able to do a good training level test. I can't even blame the show environment, as if I'm honest, I can see that Kachina isn't consistently there at home either. We've been working and improving on some things like relaxation, bend, canter transitions, and my position, but other things have suffered as a result. I feel like we're at one of those stages where things get worse before they get better (at least I'm hoping that's the case, because if it turns out that we're just making zero progress then that'll make me sad to say the least).
One of my goals for the year was to get out and show and go to new places and give Kachina exposure. I think I've succeeded at that. We've done 4 shows this year, and 4 other trips to new places to do new things. Both Kachina and I are now equally comfortable at a show grounds as we are at home (sometimes even more). I have my warm-up mostly figured out and I know I can pull Kachina out of her stall, hop right on and get her focused and working.
There's one more recognized bronze show on my calendar for 2 weeks from now. Part of me really wants to go. But part of me realizes that we won't be significantly better in two weeks than we are now, and it's silly to spend a bunch of money to have someone tell me to work on things that I already know I need to work on.
So, I'm making the hard decision to finish my show season now. I've done the showing for exposure thing, so now the next time I show, I want to do it to show off how great Kachina and I are and how well we can do a dressage test. That means lots of rides by myself working on transitions, half halts, connection, etc. It also means me getting as much instruction as I can arrange.
I'm already signed up for all 3-days of a clinic with Elaine Banfield on the first weekend of September. I'm also in the process of trying to get another dressage instructor to come down from Calgary to give a clinic here.
I'm excited for this phase. I don't have to worry about deadlines or getting ready for the next show, so I can break things back down to basics and slowly build them back up. We have a lot of the different pieces, but I need to put them together and develop a lot more consistent foundation. I'll let you know how it goes...