We are finally getting into our groove here in Florida. Piccolo's fitness has come along far better than I expected it would and I'm starting to get some regular lessons in. On Tuesday, I loaded up early and headed to Ocala. I had scheduled a lesson with Dorothy Crowell and was fortunate enough to be going to the area the same day as the ICP (instructor certification program) workshop. Aaron Vale was teaching the jumping workshop and it was interesting to see the riders work through the exercises he had chosen. It was a little disappointing that it seemed more like a clinic than a workshop in that there was little to no interaction with the trainers, riders, and coaches that filled the seats around the arena which, I believe, is the point to having these workshops. I can't complain too much. Longwood is gorgeous, there were many talented riders, and I'm anxious to try out some of the exercises that he presented.
After the morning session, I had a jumping lesson with Dorothy at Jon and Jen Holling's Willow Run farm. The people there are welcoming and the farm is fantastic. On the hack to the show jumping area, we schooled some banks and through the water jump. My lesson was humbling as it usually is when I ride with Dorothy but exactly what we needed. I've had very few lessons in the past year and have slipped into some bad habits riding solo so much. Piccolo may not be as forgiving as some but she's talented enough to do the work at this level in spite of me. However, when I sit where I need to and think about what I'm doing, my redheaded girl is pretty amazing! She was so thrilled when I rode well enough to ride a course! We'll head back again this coming Tuesday for some more xc and stadium work.
Today, I hacked a half mile down the road and had a dressage lesson with Jane Whitehurst. Right away, she tapped into some subtle changes to make in my position and how that made Piccolo relax more over her topline and stay straighter into the connection. Lots of basic circles and transitions at walk and trot working on keeping Piccolo honest in her work and my position strong but relaxed and moving with her. I plan to take advantage of having such good instruction so close and ride with Jane a couple times a week while I'm here. This is why I'm here!
After I hacked back to the farm, Claire had a nice ride on Piccolo in preparation for her big lead line class this Saturday at Black dog farm (oh yeah, and I'm riding some dressage tests too!;))
I promise more pictures soon!