During this time of our relationship, I really want to focus on the basics for both myself and Miles and concentrate on growing our partnership. As I’ve confessed before, I am easily over-faced and generally not very brave rider; I’m going to need time to trust Miles and gain confidence on him.
So with that in mind, we started off slow with some flatting and ground poles. I struggled with the ground poles a bit, but it’s all part of the process. I want to have a slower canter rhythm and Miles just wants to just canter down the line without much interference. He knows how to be adjustable, is easy to step up and respects my half halts… he just doesn’t like them; compressing his body and stride is difficult. I’m not going to push the issue at this point: as long as he listens, the finer point of him giving and accepting my half halts more gracefully will come in time.
We then moved on to a small outside line: trotting in to a crossrail and cantering out over a small vertical (a riveting 18″ for our audience). We were able to fit in six strides, and I was proud of myself for sticking with my plan, committing to my half halts and making it work. But when we opened up for the five, Miles was much happier. I must remember that Miles is not Vinnie who can take a half-step at the base of the fence, but also not Diamond who will launch for the long spot.
After a break for jumpers, I did a mini course, trotting into the diagonal line, cantering around the the outside line and finishing up over a diagonal gate. Everything was small, crossrails to 18″, but Miles was great. He went over everything without hesitation or even a peek at the jumps (see the small things I need to increase my confidence?). He let me hold back in the diagonal line, gallop up the outside line and chip in to the final diagonal fence (oops). We had one simple change that was snappy, and we didn’t have to do any circles to get organized or re-balance. I did this course twice and it was better the second time, without the chip to the final fence because I remembered it and asked Miles for more canter in the approaching turn (go me!).
We finished up with a final course of 18″-2′ jumps: up the diagonal gate single, down the diagonal line and up the outside line. This time we cantered the entire course, and got two flying changes, with decent distances, correct striding and no extra circles. I was beaming!
Lots of peppermints and kisses from myself, as well as his adoring fans (during which Miles napped). Everyone commented on what a great match he is for me, and I have to agree. He’s been such a solid citizen so far, I can tell we are going to have tons of fun and learn a lot together; something I am so looking forward to!