Last year, I was struggling with getting solid one tempi changes on both Wendy and Wyatt. This year they're both rock solid and we're fine tuning the Grand Prix. Last year the idea of a freestyle was a punch line at the end of a joke. I'm now listening to music and playing it ringside to see if it "fits"gaits/movements. Last year I was doing the 'drudge work' of suppling, bending, stretching and not working on better execution or flamboyance with either horse. Both of their piaffe/passage transitions were on the weak/poor side as they lacked the power and good connection to do it in a 'show worthy' fashion. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of what's better now for those two horses.
Another positive last year vs. this year - "Little" Liam (all 17.3 of him) was motoring through the Prix St. Georges work in a so-so fashion. He was only 7, so he gets a pass. Now he's doing one-one in a steady-Eddy pattern and his two tempis are very nice. The full pirouettes are coming along nicely and the quality of all 3 gaits has a whole new brilliance. His piaffe is getting stronger and he has a baby passage (well beyond half steps but not quite boing-ing enough to call it a 'real' passage - yet).
Daisy and McDreamy are working on their changes, half passes and all the 4th level lateral work. The collection for high scores on their pirouettes will be solid in a few more weeks. Last year they were 1st level-ish.
Oz is back in full training and better than ever. His self inflicted wipeout soreness is a distant memory and he should be ready to go out and show by spring. And that means a(nother) Grand Prix horse. Or maybe I'll stick to the Intermediate A & B, Intermediare II with him. Or he could do the Developing Horse GP...but I'm not going to push it. I'm just happy to have my guy back in work and happy about it!
Dolce is a dream to work with and probably the nicest horse I've ever gotten to ride. Dru gives her a run for the title but my cup truly runeth over when it comes to the Talent in the barn. They might technically be "behind" on the age/training scale, but that doesn't phase me any more. No more fretting about "where/what they should be training" - they are coming along and will be ready when they're ready.
So on a gloomy, chilly day like today - I'm counting my blessings that there are so many talented horses in good health (knocking on the dining table that is most definitely wood), I am still in good weight and fitness and tomorrow begins the big countdown to Dressage at Devon 2016. So onward and upward! Focus not on what has gone wrong today but what I'm going to get done right tomorrow! Train smarter for each horse's needs and work carefully towards the big goal - CDIs, recognized shows and making more FEI horses for the farm. Oh and teach and fundraise, apply for grants and thank all the product manufacturers that make it possible for me to do what I do! And sell some horses to fund all of this great stuff that is my life! :)