Friday, August 30, 2013

Indiana Dressage Festival, Day Two

Ya'll recovered from that monster post yesterday? I promise today's post is nowhere near as long. I headed out the barn last night to break Guinness' week of rest to have a bit of a trail ride. I couldn't have picked a better week to give him some time off; it's the hottest week of the whole summer and the ground is ridiculously hard due to a lack of rain this month. We'll get back to real work this weekend, when I can come out in the cooler mornings. The weather is supposed to change again this weekend, back to blessedly cool temps. I'm looking forward to it. Anyway, back to the show!

Sunday

Since my one and only class on Sunday wasn't until nearly 2pm, I spent most of the day at the horse park being incredibly lazy. I took Pig for a walk and watched some advanced rides. They were awesome. I watched some schooling. It was awesome. I talked to my neighbors in the barns. This was also awesome. I took my precious time braiding my horse. We went for another walk. I ate some trail mix. Exciting things, real exciting.

Watching the cross country riders schooling at the start of the course. Apparently, it was totally fascinating.
Guys. I hate having afternoon ride times.

Anyway, I did follow my schedule for getting ready - and was actually ready about 10 minutes early. This wasn't ideal, as I ended up just bouncing around outside my stall crying "Is it time?! Is it time?!" It was ... unflattering. I climbed on Pig with about 25 minutes of warm up time. Juuuuust right.

I was worried about Guinness being tired on the third day, and I think he was a little. My warm up was pretty much the same as Saturday, but with more walk. I wasn't as aggressive as I was on Saturday, either. I was letting myself get more afraid of losing the relaxation and climbing too far into my own head. (Should have spent my morning reading this article instead.) That mindset followed over into my test. Without practicing the forwardness and half halts that I needed during my test, there was just no way I was going to get the forwardness and responsiveness I needed to score well.

Video: 


Guinness was just behind my leg the whole test. I ended up popping him with the crop during our turn across the diagonal in the canter. That reaction I got from him is exactly what I deserved. Too much, too late. As a result of not enough forwardness, I didn't have my horse in my hand and we couldn't execute our bending lines and lateral movements in the slightest. The scoring shows that pretty accurately. Two places where I was riding properly and just didn't get it? The stretchy circle. He did finally give me stretch, but not until the circle was nearly done. The medium walk. The judge writes to ride more forward, and I would have if I'd been able. I knew that Guinness would react to any leg aid by jigging, and I wanted the points for that walk - even if it was slow. So I let him dawdle through that first medium walk, knowing I could really push him forward in the free walk. Know thy horse. It pays off.

(As an aside, I have to tell you how totally in my own head I was for this class. While trotting around the ring, I was expecting to hear the whistle at any moment. Finally, I did. Only, it wasn't the whistle for my ring, it was the bell for the ring right next to me. Thinking it was my whistle, I went ahead and entered the ring. It wasn't until after my test when the judge called me up to tell me that she had saved me by blowing the whistle just before I entered that I had any idea I'd screwed up. PSA, guys. Get out of your own head. Ride the moment, not the brainwaves. I was so lucky, and the judge was so nice.)

I do want to point out that this judge wasn't afraid to use her marks. She gave me 4s for movements that truly deserved them, but had no problems giving me a 7.5 for my first counter canter loop. Holy crap. I was so excited by that score that the fact that the total score was a 55.484% didn't even matter any more, even though it means I missed my 2nd score for my Bronze Medal. A 7.5 for a movement that I couldn't even begin to ride through without disintegrating into a mess of lead changes and bucking at the beginning of the year. In fact, in March I wrote "I'll be surprised if counter canter ever becomes a strength of ours. In fact, I'll just be happy to get through a show without a tension-inducing auto change showing up!" What a difference hard work can make, and what a confidence booster buried in a horrible score. 

In case I didn't already get it drilled in my head this weekend - my half halts, they need ze work.
So, obviously the homework for now is half halts, half halts and more half halts. I'm also giving the green light to working on 2nd level. We're where we need to be at First, and working on 2nd is only going to help us keep getting better.
Let's go, Mom!

10 comments:

  1. Those canter loops look great! I started schooling first level movements this week - fun, but way more work than I am used to.

    Hubby did a super job as your reader, too! You all need to head to KY for a show next :)

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    1. Yeah, those canter loops were really the only salvageable part of the test. Who knows where my head was!

      I really want to come to Lexington to show! A good college friend just moved down there, too. You Lexington folks are all ganging up on me! (Maybe Jen and I can share a trip?)

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  2. Sounds like a great show overall!

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  3. You guys look super! I think you will find that First Level will become really easy once you start really schooling Second. :)

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    1. Thanks for the confidence! I know Training felt like a walk in the park after working hard on First!

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  4. Oh! Nice job! USDF shows really show you where you are. It's great to get a great score at the USDF shows because it really means you nailed it! :0)

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    1. Thanks! USDF recognized are sort of a new experience to me. I volunteer with them all the time, and so am very familiar with them, but had never shown at one. The judging is harder!

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  5. I'm finally all caught up with yourself and the G-Man, sounds like a wonderful weekend where much was learned and family time was also squeezed in. Great to have things to work on and to know that you are deff on the right track, you guys are doing awesome!
    Here's hoping I can be half as good some day...might help to get my horses butts and mine back into an arena to see where we are after our easy summer of trail riding in the woods - has been great all the same! :D

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    1. Hey, sometimes all that time off can really surprise you. I know a long break does my horse good! Thanks for the kind words!

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