Thursday, June 18, 2015

Show Goals

#1: look fabulous
Alright, well... this weekend is our last show of the month and it's our big move up to training level dressage. I feel like I'm basically attempting to memorize the entire lower level USDF test repertoire at this point.

But I digress. Given that it's a new venue, new level, new discipline, I'm trying to create a list of realistic goals for us to strive for.

1) Stay on the horse while in the arena.

This should be doable. It's not really my main stressor, but I wanted to cover it.

also practice braiding again
2) Stay in the arena while doing our tests.

Again, doable. Courage hasn't learned yet that dressage arenas are not to be jumped out of, but he's been perfectly happy to stay in them so far.

3) Remember (or have a reader for) both of our tests.

I refuse to fail on something so simple.

he looks so curvy
4) Be present in the moment and ride my horse.

If Courage brings his A Game, we should be competitive. If he lets his green show through, we'll be a lot less competitive. Whatever happens, I want to ride the horse under me and build another positive experience in pursuit of an overall green reduction.

I mean, I know I just wrote a whole post about not wanting to settle for second best and that holds true. However, this is our first time under a USDF judge and I have literally NO IDEA what will happen. I don't know how they compare to eventing judges.

We are going to find out.

5) Break 57%.

We're at a locally recognized show competing against professionals (no really, I checked. Apparently all the other ammies have enough money to do the recognized classes). I have no illusions of grandeur (well, I do, but not at this particular show). I just want to do more things right than wrong and have the judge agree with that. Anything more is icing on the cake.

Is this realistic? I have no idea. We've been coasting on intro (no stretchy trot and no coefficients), so I'm excited to step up to the challenge of a new level and see what happens.

PS I'm getting really motivated about goals lately. It's making me wonder if I set them too low, since I keep achieving them.


  1. As far as the judging goes, it doesn't matter if you ride Open, AA, or Opportunity. The judge doesn't change his or her scoring based on who is in the court. Your score will be the one you earn regardless of how anyone else rides.

    In my experience, the difference in scores from a schooling show to a USDF-rated show is 10 - 15%. The judges at a schooling show are gentler in their scoring as they really want you to be successful and to keep trying. Judging at a USDF-rated show is straight down the line. You will be scored against a well-defined standard. I like this because it tells me exactly what we've been doing right and what we still need to work on.

    Best of luck!

  2. I think your goals are great! You're moving forward and building on the positive. Much better than never achieving goals because they're always set too high (my problem).
    Good luck at the show! And kisses to Courage :)

  3. I think your goals are great. And you're smart to set your goal as a percentage rather than a ribbon- dressage is so much more rewarding when you are competing for the score rather than for the ribbon. I think you and Courage will do great!

  4. I like having realistic, truly achievable goals especially at shows. There are so many additional factors that make horse showing much more challenging than riding at home.

  5. Readers are awesome - one less thing to stress about! Good luck!

  6. Your goals are doable and realistic and I think if it's motivating you to set small goals and meet them, keep doing it. As far as training level goes, from the photos and videos I've seen, I think you guys are ready to be competitive at it. Keep riding in the moment - that's what I'm working on too!

  7. First, braids!!! They look great, he's so cute! I think the goals sound good! Moving up the levels in dressage - even intro to training takes time. I've been horses where I was at training level for a couple show seasons before they were even remotely ready to move up to first. I like to do my move ups at schooling shows where it's cheaper and generally a less pressure environment. Then when I do move up, I do one test at my previous level then one test at my move up level. Seems to work pretty well at building the confidence up :)

  8. Sometimes it's good to set lower but reachable goals. Once you have those then they can get harder! And I think the ones you have picked are good. Good luck at the show this weekend! Courage looks very cute.

  9. Is it weird how much I love braidiing?

  10. Having never shown dressage I can't comment much on the percentage score bit, but I like to add with no bucking foolishness to staying on and staying in the ring as goals. Copper seems to need specifics sometimes. ;)

  11. I'm jelly of your braids. Teach me your wayyss

  12. Small achievable goals are the only things you want to have. That builds trust and confidence and while it can feel slow some times. It's a whole lot faster than trying to rebuild ruined confidence in a horse or a rider. You'll advance so much faster this way. Yay for fun shows!

  13. i'm all about breaking big goals into smaller bites. makes me feel like i can still pat myself on the back even if things don't go to plan lol. you guys are gonna be great tho - hope you have a ton of fun!

  14. I think your goals sound really excellent because you're focused on (a) positive outing for Courage while also (b) riding the best that you can (being in the moment, doing more right than wrong). Have fun!!

  15. Remember to ride your test geography correctly. Real 20m circles, and lines that go from marker to marker. Accuracy will help those scores more than you think. Look up to the next marker and head for it. Take your time to set him up for the canter departs. They are between markers so you have time. Do your best to memorize the test so your reader is just extra insurance, not the necessity. And, no matter what, do smile. Smile at the judge on first and final halts. You need to be happy to have accomplished enough to be in that arena and proud of your horse. Oh, yes, do remember to breathe. It's easy to forget when you are nervous. Deed breath at the start, count in your head as you let it out and keep on breathing. Courage will appreciate that.

  16. You've got this.

    In driving, you have to memorize your dressage test. Always. No callers even in training level.

    The judges are people too. They all started out at the bottom just like everyone else did and does.

    I don't know about the differences between USDF and eventing dressage judges, but ridden and driven dressage judges look for the same things- correct movement of the horse through proper training and cues from the rider/driver.

    Dressage is dressage is DRESSAGE. You're either doing it right or you're not. The scores for each movement and the comments tell you what to work on and what the judge seen. It's also one persons opinion on one day. We all need to remember not to take things so personally. We're there to show what we've learned and hopefully to improve.

  17. You can do it! I love having goals and I think yours are totally doable. I am living vicariously through all you guys that are showing often!

  18. Yay! Good luck!

    In my experience, schooling shows can be super hit or miss in terms of judging. I find that schooling shows with judges who graduated from the L program are usually only a few percentage points away from the r/R/S judges at rated shows. We have one schooling show circuit in the area though where the trainer who is putting it on is the judge and the scores are just plain WEIRD.

  19. These sound like good, realistic goals. Good luck at the show!

  20. Dressage has been my constant frustration. I feel like we school it well at home but can't score super well for whatever reason. NT says she's going to teach me how to ride the test because she swears wiz has "8" gaits, looking forward to that... But good luck!


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