Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I won't be having a Thanksgiving dinner this year but I will be giving thanks that Donneur has had an epiphany about how to do the one tempi changes! Once he figured out how to manage that big canter of his in this new situation, he has never looked back. In fact, the miraculous thing is that he does the ones easier than the twos and threes. What a thrill to have been there every step of the way of his journey from a five year old to a Grand Prix horse. Mary Anne will tell you that I lamented over every new movement worrying that it would be possible from leg yields to piaffe. But one thing I have to say for Donneur, even though it has been a big job for him to get control over his big gaits, once he understands what to do, he owns it for life.
It is a long and difficult journey from the lower levels to Grand Prix and it is different for each horse. It is important to remember that all the 90% of perspiration and 10% inspiration that it takes to get to Grand Prix with a horse makes it oh so sweet in the end. I am so looking forward to making it official by riding him down the centerline in his first Grand Prix test. I had hoped to be able to do that next week at the show we are going to, but the Grand Prix test for young horses is not being offered at that show. So, we will go PSG and INT 1 for the last time.
My horses get a gold star for being able to function in a 20 x 50 arena with 8 other horses. There are 3 tracks happening at any one time. The track closest to the middle is for handwalking horses, the 2nd track is for riders that are only walking and the rail is for horses moving at a faster pace. It requires as much attention as driving on the Autobahn, if fact, I could have used a rear view mirror on the pommel on more than one occasion. When you are in a lesson with Hubertus and he tells you to do a pirouette on the diagonal, it doesn't matter if you are within inches of another horse, you go on about your business. And just because there might be someone bearing down on you from the opposite direction on the diagonal, don't leave your line when you are doing the tempi changes. I have to say when we were at the show in Paderborn, being in a 20 x 60 arena for my test felt like I had a whole football field. I think it is much easier to go from a small ring to a larger one instead of the other way around.
Next weekend we get to try our hand in the competition arena again and we are looking forward to another successful show. Stay tuned for the results!



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