Yesterday we had our assessment session with Jamie Wright Equestrian for the sponsorship opportunity I blogged about last week. I was slightly nervous as its a big deal for us and I've never been particularly good at riding in front of strangers especially when I'm under pressure!
I made sure we had plenty of time to load (just in case, as it's been a while but the magic from Tarrsteps Services is still working) but Buddy walked straight on. The journey over was uneventful, Buds travels so much better now and was happily munching away on his hay all the way there. We got there with plenty of time to spare so I could get ready nice and calmly and ensure both of us were chilled out. Buds was thoroughly enjoying sunbathing by the lorry and it was lovely to watch Jamie ride whilst we were getting ready.
It was soon time to hop on and away we went. After a quick warm up Jamie started to put us through our paces and we started off with keeping the rhythm on a 20m circle and ensuring he was engaging his hind end. We did this on both reins before working on his suppleness - spiralling into a small circle (12-15m), making sure that we kept the same rhythm and impulsion, and then leg yielding out. Buddy's favourite thing is to go sideways, at speed, and I always need to control the outside shoulder to stop him falling out. He got the better of me a couple of times but overall I was really pleased with his attitude.
We then moved on to canter. As you know we have been working on this for such a long time and over the last few weeks things have started to come together but it can still be a bit hit and miss as I have so much to remember to keep myself in the right position and to help Buddy be in the right place. Jamie gave us a couple of handy hints and suggested that we didn't bother sitting into the transition and for me to over exaggerate my turning and leg aids to ensure we struck off on the right leg every time.
I could not believe it but we had a fantastic, uphill canter first time on the right rein. I had a huge grin, I think Jamie was impressed and Buddy was totally nonchalant and was wondering when we were going to finish. We had three spot on transitions and then moved to our left rein. This has always been our weaker rein but Buddy proved me to be an idiot as he gave me a beautiful transition and then a lovely, balanced canter. Not as uphill as on the right but such a huge improvement. We fluffed up one transition which was totally my fault as I didn't move my outside leg back quick enough but when I sorted myself out it was perfect.
At this point both Buddy and I were rather warm but I was so impressed with my lovely lad. I would so love to continue working with Jamie as his training builds nicely with the foundation we have set but there are some very talented riders (and lovely horses) on the short list so all I can do is hope and wait now. However, regardless of whether we are chosen or not, my amazing horse tried so hard for me and I feel that we are on the verge of something special and nothing can take that feeling away.