After Southern Pines, it was clear that something needed to change. I had my first lesson with Gabriele Hooten (http://members.aol.com/thesolidrockfarm/) the Tuesday after Southern Pines. We saw immediate in improvement and the first lesson went really well. Our immediate homework was to work on building Octavian’s topline for correct muscle development in order to ask him to hold the frame that he needs for our dressage tests, as well as to transfer the weight back to his haunches.
A few weeks after Southern Pines, we also had our first lesson with Molly Bull. Upon having a stop at a bounce on cross country (an all too common stop for us), the problem was immediately addressed. I wasn’t shortening Octavian’s stride enough, and as a result, he was going strung out into combinations and fences. We also worked on my position coming up to combinations, skinnies, and corners. I was needing to “take the backseat”, to continue balancing and supporting Octavian to the jump. It’s amazing how fixing these two things made such a big difference. I came away from that lesson feeling more confident than I had in a long, long time.