Friday, September 11, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

looking glorious in the bad boy martingale
Wednesday night, Alyssa and I hauled Courage over to the last edition (for the year) of our local schooling dressage ride-a-test series. I've been a couple times before, but Courage always had equine company coming from the barn with him. It's the same facility we've taken some solo lessons at, which were fine.

I didn't account for the fact that not only would he be alone, but also ALL the other horses were crazy green and screaming their heads off. I mean--Courage isn't one to just scream for screaming's sake, but when it's what literally everyone else is doing, well, you might as well give it a go, amiright?

love the light
In other words, I got to practice riding through a lot of tension and distraction. I thought it went well. I remembered to do things like put my leg on and pick my hands up and related dressage-like things and once Courage was settled, we headed down centerline.

And he screamed his head off, got super tense, and even threw in a buck for good measure on our right lead circle. I did my best to keep us combobulated and more or less headed the right direction, but let's be honest: it wasn't a strikingly good piece of test riding.

RIGHT LEAD
But hey, that's the whole entire point of going to schooling shows.

Our next test was training 3, which I had never ridden or memorized before. It occurred to me about 5 minutes before our test that there were no trot circles in it. Interesting.

Anyways. I kept Courage's mind in the game and made him trot and shoulder-in around the outside of the arena instead of walk, and that seemed to help. He spooked pretty hard at the dressage arena when we trotted in (wtf horse), but overall kept it together better than the first test.

bang on square
I never felt like I had him solidly forward or put enough leg on and while our geometry was better than it has been, we still didn't quite make it to some letters. Overall, it felt better than the first test, but not up to par for what I ought to be able to do (on a green horse at a show by myself in a new test, but whatever).

Just after our final salute, the shit got really crazy. I rode out of the arena on a loose rein, then hopped off and lead Courage back to the trailer.

tracking and stretching
Alyssa thought our tests were good. I thought they were kinda average to bad, but at least obedient.

Then I looked at our scores. Training 2 (bucking and all) snagged us a 64 and Training 3 was a 67.

The comments were pretty spot on--Courage needs MORE which means I need to ride better and ask for it. He's certainly capable at this point. And really--looking at the pictures tells me that while Courage felt TENSE, he actually looked fine.

PS this is a super mega schooling show, hence the boots and martingale.

18 comments:

  1. Nice! The pics look awesome! You and Courage are badass. That's the thing about showing -- you never know what you're going to encounter. You just have to ride on through. Sounds like you did a nice job.

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  2. Fantastic pics and you must be very proud of your scores. When are you going to start showing rated again? ;)

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    1. There's nothing local until next year now. I'm not quiiiiite ready to haul four hours for dressage yet.

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  3. congrats! you guys look phenomenal in the pictures. i love that you're getting him out so much and putting so many miles on. even when he's not at his best the needle is definitely still moving forward (also i kinda love schooling shows that let us use the tools we need - like boots and martingales - while still gettin it done)

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  4. See? The judge doesn't hate you. :)

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    1. My theory is that we got a ton of points for being least crazy. "YAY HAVE A 7 FOR STAYING IN THE ARENA!"

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  5. You both did great for the amount of crazy that was surrounding you. Your damn photographer cut your head off in some of her photos. What a loser.

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    1. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have any media at all. Not even an ears shot.

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  6. He looks good, you look great!!! Sitting up so straight and pretty with a nice open hip. Sounds like a successful show to me!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so thrilled! My position is really starting to change for the better.

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  7. You're doing soooooo well with him! I'm inspired.

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  8. That's usually the way. It FEELS like you're sitting on a stick of dynamite ready to blow, but what everyone else sees is a sparkler if that....

    Yay Schooling shows!

    Oh and a side note for the last post about bridles- Behind the Bit has some really pretty browbands. I know, I know. Enabler..... *sigh*

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    1. Scroll over the words Behind the Bit for the clicky link.

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  9. Sometimes tension can add just a bit of spark for the judge. :) Sounds like a good experience even if you weren't thrilled with your tests.

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