1) Continue lunging/ground driving Izzy to confirm her ground manners, as per current work.
Conclusion: Semi success. I have basically dropped lunging for now because I feel that riding is in general, more productive. That said, she's been doing really well at this stuff if/when I ask for it.
2) Begin riding. 50-70% of undersaddle time done without stirrups. Use full seat breeches and dressage saddle.
Conclusion: Success! I have the bulging thigh muscles to prove it. I felt like it really helped me regain confidence and balance in a hurry. Also, it hurt like h*ll.
3) Stirrups on jump saddle and lots of two point in all three gaits. Might trot over poles, but no jumping until September.
Conclusion: Fail, actually. We did tons of two point, but started jumping about two weeks after getting the go ahead to ride, and even had a muy exciting jumping lesson!
All in all, I was pleased with August. We went from this:
Me watching someone else ride the Wondermare
Me confidently jumping the Wondermare over low verticals. Yay!!
So, that brings us to September. (In all fairness, the above shot was taken this month, but I figured it illustrated my point best.)
1) Change the warm up. I have found that Izzy actually does best when we start with a forward walk, moving off both legs and starting to loosen up her shoulders with some turns on the haunches. Then we go into a very forward trot on a loose rein, then move into a forward canter on a loose rein. I picked up contact as we come back into trot, and BOOM. That is an amazing feeling. Keep this up. See what (if anything) needs to be added/changed.
2) Keep that forward. I always seem to lose this somehow, and it is so incredibly critical to a successful ride. I need to ride very forward and get comfortable with it.
3) Canter. For some reason, this gait and I always disagree in a jump saddle. I need to work on sitting it without pumping my upper body and getting in two point without touching my rumpus to the saddle.
Hm... can you tell I've spent 80% of my riding time the past week in jump tack? No worries, I think we're having a dressage lesson next week. (And we -are- having a jump lesson tomorrow!)