Monday, June 28, 2010

Schooling Show Success

This past Sunday Bastian and I went to Grand Haven in Jefferson Ohio for one of their Dressage Schooling Shows.  We rode Training Level Test 2 and Training Level Test 4. Bastian has only been back to real work for two weeks now and is still lacking in physical condition.  I've only been riding again since last Monday and a lot of those rides have just been me getting comfortable and confident on him again after my fall. 

I'm riding much more timidly again and while Bastian is a great guy, he is lazy and is only going to give me what I ask for, especially since he's been off work.  So he's a bit behind my leg.  Our timing is still off, although its getting better.  Definitely a work in process, we will have it together before the show next week (eeeeek!  Just a week and half....can't wait!).  Today Bastian is enjoying a much deserved day off and I'm enjoying a "get everything done that I haven't done for the past two weeks" day.  Which was sarcasm on the "I'm enjoying" part in case you weren't sure. 

Back to the show.  It was hotter than the gates of Hades, luckily there was a bit of breeze so it was barely tolerable.  I was going to lunge him to get him forward, but then opted against it since it was A) Super hot and B) I figured a bit slow and behind my leg would be 'safer' for me.  He has been to Grand Haven once before, a year ago and he was really good there, so I wasn't overly concerned he would be a fruit loop or looky.  And he wasn't.  We went in the warm-up ring and walked around a bit then did our warm-up, he felt pretty good, nice transitions, fairly consistent.  I couldn't have been happier. 

Our first test was Training Level 2, an easy test where all your transitions are between letters and it has two diagonals, my favorite movements because if I can get him in a nice place, its a great place to showcase his gaits and his rhythm.  Overall the test rode pretty well.  There were some very nice moments, but more just "eh" moments due to our lack of fitness and my own show nerves.  I get nervous about kinda silly things and fixate on them.  Like while I'm doing my 20 meter circle at E, I worry about having to trot past the opening at A and wonder if my horse will try to leave the arena.  I need to learn to refocus on whats happening and not worry about that other stuff.  We scored a 63.214%, which I was very pleased with.  I was shooting for a 65% and had I not had a few bobbles in the test we would have made it.  We were actually tied for second place, so the other rider must have had better collective remarks.  We were only 1% behind first place, so we were right up there. ☺

Here is our test:

(Thanks to Tawny for videoing!)

Our next ride was nearly two hours later, so he got untacked and went back on the trailer to munch his hay.  I got him back out and tacked up for our next test.  I was about 10 minutes ahead of schedule so we took our time warming up.  He warmed up great, he felt even better than he had felt that morning.  *sigh* then it went away.  We entered the arena to start warming up around the outside of the ring and as soon as I turned him to go down the long side Bastian decided that he was tired and done.  He sucked back and balked at my leg (we were just walking), I smacked him with the whip and he kicked out at the whip, which made me nervous.  He went forward, but was still cranky.  Once we got past B, he was fine, then he was wonderful going back toward the barn/trailer, then we turned the corner again and same thing.  I didn't want to get into a big fight, mainly because I'm too scared too.  I know what he is capable of.  I also know that if you make your point known once, without question, he'll say "yes ma'am" and carry on being a good boy.

We started our test finally (the judge was talking to the previous rider) it was Training Level 4, the one I really need to master so I can hope to get my qualifying scores at the recognized show next week. (NEXT WEEK!!)  We quietly "argued" for the first half of the test.  He didn't want to go and I wasn't about to anything to jeopardize me.  It culminated in one of his half hearted teenager moment bucks between A and K where we were supposed to pick up a right lead canter.  Of course in the corner closest to the barn and going away from them.  We scored a 3 on that movement, lol,  the judges kind comment was "late."  I didn't ask for the canter again until we were halfway through our 20 meter canter circle at E.  After that Bastian capitulated and said "okay mom, we're doing this and I'll behave."  Our scores improved towards the end, but not enough to save us.  We ended up with a 56%, not exactly the best, but given the circumstances and the fact that I eventually won our argument I was happy.  We stayed in the ring, I stayed on and I didn't miss any movements in the test. 

The judge was Joanna White and I really liked her.  We talked a bit after my test and she asked if he was young (yes!) and said she thought that in six weeks we would be right on par with putting in a good test.  Hopefully I can fastforward that six weeks into a week and half.  I'm pretty sure that if I just stop pussyfooting around with him we'll be okay.  Had I resolved our argument the moment he balked we would have been fine and had better scores.  So lesson learned, he'll be getting pulled out twice a day a few times before the show to get used to the idea that sometimes he'll get ridden twice a day.  Silly Pony.

I placed second in that class and overall, the test felt better.  I was actually prepared for it this time unlike last time when I looked at it as I was going into the ring.  I need to be more assertive in my riding and remember to prepare prepare prepare. 

Overall I am very happy with our experience!

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