Today I had the chance to ride with one of my friends from BC (let's call her S). Her and I don't know each other so well (new friends!) but she knows riding, and enjoys watching and giving pointers. I was so glad she said she'd come with me to the arena to give a hand since I was also trying out a new saddle. I picked up a nice Collegiate for a song, so figured why not try it out? It's a Collegiate Eventer, so more of an all-purpose than my stubben, but wanted to try it out and if it doesn't work, can always sell it again. We slapped it on Koda, and it fit him, almost perfectly. I was surprised since it was advertised as a 'narrow' tree, but when you look at it, it's more of a medium-narrow or medium. Does collegiate run wide? Either way, this saddle is going to be the "dressage" saddle for now, along with trail ride saddle (very cushion-y seat) until I can afford the dressage saddle I want.
So geared up with the new saddle, off we went to strut our stuff for S. Koda was feeling good, nice and steady, good rhythm and tempo. Koda finds it tough to bend and flex, and doing anything but go like a giraffe or move like a 2 by 4, so we focused on circles and bending today. While riding, S and I both noticed some key thins about Koda:
1) He is as honest as they come, he will always try! But...
2) Koda can be a bit lazy
3) Going to the left, he will bend all day, but step up and under himself, use his back? Pffft.
4) Going to the right he will use himself, try to push off his hindquarters, step under himself. Bend? Pffft.
I really found this funny and interesting because the horse I rode for a long time beforehand, Dillon, was similar yet different. Dillon would try all day and was rather talented, but he was a bit lazy. He could bend all day to the right, not really to the left, and he moved really well to the left but not to the right. This is something that I'll have to work on since I'm used to riding the complete opposite way that Koda needs me to ride. During the winter we're going to be playing more in the big sand box, which I do enjoy after doing mostly hacking out and trail rides all summer, to work on these gaps in training.
Tomorrow I'm riding again at the arena with another friend, P, so will have some more time to work on these things, plus do a few jumps too! The pony club up here is having a clinician come up next Saturday so need to tune up!
Hope everyone is having a good weekend! Get out there before the snow gets too deep!