|we meet again|
I mean, let's be honest. This has been a big goal of mine for a long time now. Naturally, that meant that Courage decided not to play last week. At all. Just NOPE. Thankfully, we've been partners for a long enough time now that I was able to make some smart decisions about his care and some educated guesses and I thought I was on the right track until we noped our way around our warmup on our last pre-show ride.
It was bad. I seriously considered just getting off and crying. But hey. That's terrible training and I'm nothing if not stubbornly determined, so I took a walk break and a deep breath, patted my horse, and tried again.
It got better. Still not great, but better.
Which brings us to Saturday. Great things happened Saturday--I braided by myself and it looked ok (until the stupid rubber bands started randomly failing and falling out of his mane for NO ACTUAL REASON). Courage got on the trailer on the first try with zero fuss and even unloaded without scaring anyone, which is fantastic. He hung out at the trailer and didn't try to mount his show buddy (uh yeah it's happened before.) Heck, I even stayed in the arena, remembered my tests (except once when I totally blanked but somehow accidentally did the right thing anyways), and more or less rode the horse I had under me.
And what's more, I don't have to guess what would have happened if I just pushed a little harder.
If that sounded ominous, well, it should.
You see, there were also things that were not so great. I made a good plan for us at the show, but then I didn't stick to it. My first ride was around 11.30, which means I need to put my ass into the saddle at 10.30. Not watch my friend ride at 10.40, then mosey back to the trailer, then tack up and groom, then try to put show clothes on and realize I don't know how stock pins work, then get a tutorial, then meander into warm up a whole TWO RIDES before I'm supposed to be in the ring.
Nope. That was a really, really terrible idea. Of course, Courage was super looky and tense. Of course, he didn't have time to settle. Of course, I tried to make the best of it and just ride anyways. Of course, he was not so much having it. Still, tension adds that little flash of brilliance and he was almost good... so when we went to lengthen trot across the diagonal early in first-two, which is something he's normally very good at, I asked him to GO FOR IT and yeah his brain peaced out so hard...
|aka lengthen trot #firstimpressions|
Which is cool too. The judge thought it was so cool that she said "much tension" and gave us a 4.
He also up-periscoped and screamed as we headed down centerline. That got us an "inattentive". Which hey. Was fair. The whole test buzzed with tension (ya think?) and was scored accordingly (not complaining) and was my fault for completely botching the warm up. I KNOW Courage needs an hour for his first test. I screwed up and that's on me. (We landed 58% and 4th in a large class).
I stayed on and worked to get Courage relaxed. Our next test was, um, "conservative", was the word my trainer used. The judge was a little more blunt: "Use your lengthen trot as your working trot."
Again, fair. I didn't push Courage. It was our first time at first level and to me, calm, positive experiences are more important. We can add brilliance. I know he has the training. I need to plan better on the day of the show and I need to put more miles on him at this level. Showing is definitely NOT old hat to him at this point and I know that. (We got 61% and 7th NO SATIN SOB in an even larger class).
All in all, I'll take it. We stayed in the arena, did most of the movements in more or less the right places, and we definitely knew where to improve.
The only question was whether or not we could nail those things down by Sunday...
|look into my eyes|
There is a lot of learning here. Learning is good.ReplyDelete
Love this! You not only survived the experience, you learned a ton about the ride and preparation Courage needs. Well done you!ReplyDelete
So wise to take everything as a learning tool for the future. You and your horse look great in those pictures:) Look good, feel good.ReplyDelete
I love how unfazed you look in the NOPE photo! I feel like a year ago it would have been a different story:) I'm glad you guys went for it and all the extra miles you can put on him will certainly help!ReplyDelete
I was pleased that I kept all my profanities quite enough that the judge didn't hear them.Delete
Nice, respectable scores, despite everything. For a first time out at first, good going. Your analysis clearly proves you have a handle on what to do to improve. Give Courage a little time.ReplyDelete
By the by, what worked for my horse in the warm up---an OTTB--was to do a longish warm-up about an hour before the class, then let him decompress at the trailer for a while, then go back to the warm-up 15 minutes or so before ride time. Do a quick tune up and get into the arena for the test. Somehow the warm-up and relax period helped him get over the show jitters. Just an idea...might or might not work.
fwiw both of your outfits are totally on point and he looks *fantastically* chic in that bolting sideways pic!! looking the part is half the battle right?ReplyDelete
Yay for moving up! And looking very chic in that show tack & attire.ReplyDelete
Moving up is HARD. It's like at first you have to re-learn all the things you did well at the lower level... and then all the new stuff too!ReplyDelete
Oooh pretty ribbon! Beyond that, I've made those dumb decisions before (especially to push for more when the horse is already a ball of TENSE). It happens. Something takes over our brains on show day and makes our sensibilities take a goddamned nap. It's obnoxious.ReplyDelete
That said, a 61% is nothing to sneeze at. It's a score for your Bronze, and a good positive experience. Go you!
Schooling show, so no bronze score. :-( Or rather :-) because schooling show prices are a little easier to swallow.Delete
First, can I say I love your coat? The piping is Gorgeous and you look really, really nice. The overall picture is stunning.ReplyDelete
I feel like the only way to really effectively prepare for a show is to show! Who can ever forsee the tiny details like 'Whoops I need to learn how to tie a stock tie'.
I know NOTHING about dressage, but those sound like pretty respectable scores and good placings! Definitely sounds like you belong at that level and it was a good place to start your year.
I'm pretty sure we've ALL been there!ReplyDelete
On the rubberbands, I've encountered that before, too.
I'm not into rubber bands. Not only are they hard to wrap enough times to actually hold anything in place, they randomly disintegrate and break... It just gets worse as the rubber bands get older.
I swear by yarn. I will always use yarn...
Give it a try sometime, and you might become a believer in yarn, too! ;)
So many good things! Congrats :)ReplyDelete
Hey, twinsies! Misty got a 58% and 4th at her first level debut too! And yay for learning experiences, gotta start somewhere right?ReplyDelete
The good part about this is that "give myself more time to warm up" is a very easy thing to fix. It's much worse when things don't go well and you have no idea why (ask me how I know this). All in all I'm proud of you for continuing to ride through it - that trot lengthening bolt was NO JOKE.ReplyDelete
I know it wasn't the show you wanted, but it sounds like a good learning experience and sometimes that's more important.ReplyDelete
Yup. Been there, done that. Just one thing: I AM SO DAMN PROUD OF YOU GUYS!!! Keep on keeping on and it WILL get better.ReplyDelete
Started reading, got distracted by gorgeous ribbon.ReplyDelete
Those are good scores for your first time out at first level. Congrats on the placings such large classes! You inspired me to check the level 1 western dressage tests and I did a big ole nope! Maybe some day...ReplyDelete
Pretty ribbon, glitter helmet, stayed on and in the ring = winning. I'm looking forward to how hear about sunday!ReplyDelete
A few years ago I went off course in a test and as the judge rang the bell I realized it and said 'oh shit' really loudly. oops.ReplyDelete
When you move up it's all about the learning and figuring it out. You will get there!
Yay for moving up! Yay for keeping the profanity quiet. I know I've struggled with that!ReplyDelete
I hate rubber bands. I also hate yarn with a passion. I think I might hate yarn more. I use waxed thread and sew!
You went out and did it! That's something to be proud of. Also, your scores are more than respectable. It's not easy when it's both the horse and rider's first time moving up a level. Good job!ReplyDelete
Practice is practice. Grats on the 4th, that's pretty good.ReplyDelete
A+++ Turnout :)ReplyDelete
Yay for moving up and you guys look great. If I do half as well at my show at the end of May I'll be so, so, so happy!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great first show at first to me! :)ReplyDelete
Good for you! You can breathe a sigh of relief, the first show of the season is over!ReplyDelete