Tuesday, I headed off to the barn, happy that it was a little warmer than Sunday had been. At least my water didn't freeze when left sitting in the car. While I got Nyk ready, M informed me that she put Blondie on Nyk's joint supplement, too. She was a little off when she was working her, and she thought that might help. I thought I had asked that they both be on it when Blondie came in, but no matter, she's getting all of her vitamins and minerals now. I think she's just sore from working on Sunday, because she was finally using her back end and getting collected, for the first time in ages.
After the usual walk, trot, canter with Nyk, we worked on patterns. There is discussion that the pattern at the championship academy show will be changed, so we practiced a canter serpentine and a canter figure 8. The serpentine wasn't elegant, but at least Nyk picked up the correct leads. The figure 8 was ugly, ugly, ugly! He kept picking up the wrong canter lead when I was asking for the left lead. M had me keep trying, and as I was cueing, she pointed out what I was doing wrong. After about three times, I started to understand that I was bending his neck and head to the inside, so his hip was in the wrong direction, and he kept taking the right canter lead. When I get out in the middle of the arena, I just get confused and think that I have to over-steer. I'm so happy that I only have to worry about patterns during the academy season. I couldn't handle the added stress of working a pattern during a big show - I don't know how the kids do it.
Last night, I rode Blondie, and I let Sarah ride Nyk because Wildchild had been used in an earlier lesson and she was too hot to go again, unless Sarah was willing to stay a couple of hours to get her dried off. We worked on collection and transitions, and I think I am finally beginning to understand how to stay anchored to the saddle and not brace in the stirrups when I'm asking her to slow down. The light bulb started to go on with Nyk during the cantering figure 8s, and I think it is finally sinking in.
Blondie had one major spook, when she was terrified of her own shadow, but other than that, she was a good mare. She even was more collected during the canter than she has been. Nyk gave Sarah a bit of trouble at the canter, because he'll drop out of it if you don't keep his head up, but it looked like he was behaving most of the time.