Thursday, June 4, 2015

ALL THE HORSE SHOWS

only decent media from the show. sorry.
Show #2 of 2015 is officially in the books! We hit a little local schooling dressage show where you literally pick you own test and sort of just go whenever you're ready. There are no ribbons (since anyone can do any test) and there's no pressure.

I know I said I can't expect to be absolutely perfect for every show this year, but not gonna lie, I was hoping he'd do it again.

Eh, no.

He had a little over an hour to just hang out after we arrived and while he started kind of wild-eyed, he settled in pretty quickly. Then I tack up and hopped on.

He was perfectly fine for a green horse at his second show this year, which is to say he was tense and a bit unfocused. I tried to just keep calm and ride smoothly without getting him riled up with too many hard things too close together.

It seemed to mostly work.

looking so perfect at the derby last weekend
Then the judge was ready for us, so we went to make our circuit around the outside of the dressage court. We were about 3/4 of the way around (and the farthest away from his friends) when he spun out from under me so fast that I nearly slipped off. Then I was like "I WILL NOT HAVE MY FIRST FALL OFF THIS HORSE AT THIS PARTICULAR SHOW" and shimmied back into the saddle as we gallop-leaped (it's his favorite gait) back around the arena, past the judge, and almost into the laps of some friendly eventers.

Fun fact: at home, he wears a martingale so that when he tries this stunt, I can be all "HEAD DOWN BITCH" and I still have some leverage. We left it at home because it's dressage... whoops.

Anyways. I was actually not that shaken up, which is a bit surprising. The judge was like "um are you ok?" and I'm like "yeah sure why not". She let one of our friends (on a non-green horse) go stand in the spooky spot on the side of the arena. They tell me birds flew up. I saw nothing and don't believe in spooking at birds anyways.

need to channel this ride
Regardless.

We muddled our way through intro B first. I rode better than I would have last year or even earlier this spring, but it wasn't great. I let Courage be kind of artificially soft and never rode him forward. We got all 5s and 6s with one 7 for our last centerline. I thought the judge was kind in the collectives though--she dinged us hard for not moving forward, but gave me another 7 for riding. Advantage of almost jumping her? I guess.

We re-grouped while another rider went. I literally just did walk transitions (free walk to working walk) for a few minutes and never trotted him. That maybe wasn't the best plan for improving scores, but I'm trying to teach him that shows aren't hard or stressful so maybe? I dunno.

Anyways. I felt a bit better about intro C (and our friend was safely parked in the scary spot again). We NAILED our first centerline (EIGHT!!), and then sort of putzed around without riding forward into much of a contact. That said, it was our first ever cantering test and the canter was a total non-issue. I hadn't even asked for a canter in the warm up, but he nailed it in the ring. I'm also massively failing at geometry, which is embarrassing.

Again, mostly 5s and 6s for not ever going forward with one seven for (get this) our right lead canter transitions. I only got a 6.5 for riding because I had a better horse to ride the second test, but I didn't ride him better.

Oops.

Still, our first ever dressage show. Courage's first ever busy warm up. My riding near-miss, and we walked about with a 57 (B) and a 58 (C). The scores are definitely fair, but now I'm just itching to improve them. I'm going to geometry boot camp.

PS My apologies for the total lack of relevant media. I also have a picture of C hanging out because his best girl was in full on raging heat and he thinks he's a stallion, but it didn't seem blog-appropriate. so here it is you pervs.

28 comments:

  1. Oh my gawd. I saw that last picture before I read the corresponding text and thought oh-dear-lord-did-something-happen-to-his-penis?!

    Glad there is no injury involved there, just a boy being a boy.

    Good job for staying on and getting around!

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  2. Glad you stuck with it! I always cringe riding past the judge as Riley has a history of finding the judge's booth/car/whatever exceptionally scary when I least expect it! SO I just put the silliest grin on my face and try to look like I'm having a great time! ps. geometry is not my strong suit either (it's so much harder when you don't have a ring)

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  3. Bobby is still absolutely one hundred percent positive that The Voice From Within (aka the judge sitting in a booth/trailer/car) is going to come out and kill him. And this will be his fifth year dressaging. Sometimes they never grow into their brains.

    But yay for FINISHING both tests, even if it wasn't the best result you could hope for!

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    1. It technically achieves my goals. I'll take it!

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  4. You came, you saw, you conquered! All in all sounds like a success. And I was rolling on the floor with the last sentence and photo, so thanks for that. :-)

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  5. A thought. What I found effective with one of my nervous horses was to get to the show early. Then I would get on and warm up. This would be a fairly serious workout. Then I would go back to the trailer, unsaddle or just tie him up and chill for a while. Then I'd get back on perhaps 15 minutes before my ride time and warm up again before going into the arena. The warm up and "no show" somehow seemed to settle his brain. He got used to the showground electric atmosphere during the first warm up and was much more focused the second time out.

    Worth a try if you have the time.

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    1. Haha! I was actually thinking about this very strategy today. Glad to know someone else has tried it and it worked. I'll have to give it a go next time.

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  6. You never fail to make me laugh. I thought I was going to get through this one and then I got to the last line.

    That said - Good for you for finding the positives. I'm all about that this year, and it helps. You rode through it, he freaked out and then recovered (mostly), and you had some nice moments. You know where you can improve, and getting there is easily in sight.

    As for geometry - it really helped me to look up the distances between all the letters, and from the letters to the corners, and distances across the ring from the rail to quarterline to centerline. Then you get an idea of where your turns should go and you can plan it out like a jump course.

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    1. Printing my arena diagram now.

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    2. Agreed, knowing the distances REALLY helps! My very first actual dressage teacher stopped me mid first lesson and was like "How far between all the letters?" I didn't know!

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  7. congrats on getting it done! i definitely suffer from slipping into passenger-instead-of-pilot mode as soon as i enter at A... but at least it's a nice way to sorta set you baseline for 'eh this is what we can do without really trying to hard.' onwards and upwards from here!

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  8. Two shows within one week. Even one with a little bit of Mr. Hyde and you still made it happen. Beast mode!

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  9. AND HE GOT ON THE TRAILER. So excited about this still.

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    1. BOTH TIMES AND DIDN'T EVEN FUSS.

      #winning

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  10. Hooray! So glad you had smart goals (Courage: stay mostly calm, You: stay on) that were achieved! Sounds like the perfect kind of show for that.

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  11. Oh my gosh! Good for you for sticking it out. the more you get out there, the more non-issue all things like birds and such will become.

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  12. You're getting him out there and giving him experience. He'll get better and better and the rest is just details. Good job!

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  13. Good job! You stayed on and no one got hurt! (those used to be my show goals for showing a greenie).

    But seriously - it sounds like a lot of positives! He got on the trailer. He was mostly calm, you nailed your centerline and your first canter tests. Lots of good stuff and some takeaways for you!

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  14. Awesome! I've had shows where my only goal was to not get ejected from the ring because Promise was broncing. It's the little things!

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  15. You stayed on and still had a good show. Great job! That's all I can hope for my my first show this season.
    https://adventuresofarerider.wordpress.com

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  16. I love the kind words, "HEAD DOWN BITCH" ahahaha. And it must've been a pretty impressive save! You don't get points for that?!

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  17. Very respectable scores for his second time out! And isn't it funny how there's this tendency to stop riding when you come down centerline? Truly, I think there's something about A that just saps your will to keep your leg on and go forward.

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  18. well at least his bits were relaxed :)

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