...That's what I've been doing this week.
Royal and I are entered in a dressage schooling show tomorrow and it's only two weeks until the Steepleview Horse Trial! I can't believe how fast the summer flew by but now I have a lot of prep work to do.
Like learning how to braid. Other than the fun-n-giggles casual braiding, I've never really braided a horse. And Royal, to my knowledge, has never had to stand for a braiding before. So it was a learning curve for both of us.
The first attempt was a little rough. I used too much water to wet down the hair and had no feel for how much hair to use for each braid. As a result, it looked kind of uneven but okay for a first try.
The next day, I tried it again and it looked much better. Not perfect, but the braids were more uniform and pretty. After that, we practiced both the USDF Intro Test C (what we'll be doing at the schooling show) and the USEA Beginner Novice Test A (what we'll be doing at the Steepleview H. T.). He did fairly well, except for his tendency to drop his shoulder while cantering in a circle to the left. I lifted up my inside rein to help him balance himself and eventually he did. And then could canter with my reins in their normal position. It was a good day.
Wednesday, he was acting like he was on the tail end of a mild colic so no riding. Lots of trailer loading and shipping boots practice instead. Today was jumping, which both of us really liked. I put up the cow panels on the oxer for the first time, which Royal wasn't too sure about, but ended up popping over. I aimed him at the fence with a "We are going to jump this jump" laser focus, and he did some wiggling, but still went over. Then it was on to mini-courses like a three-stride line to the oxer and back to the cross-rail. And the oxer to a trotting figure-8 around the line then over the line. Lots of stuff to keep him interested and alert.
Tomorrow should be interesting. It will be my First Dressage Show Ever, and, presumably, Royals' as well. Here's to hoping we have fun!