1. Half Pass
2. Flying Change
3. Extended Gaits
4. Release of Reins at Canter
5. Renvers (note: this used to be part of Second Level until the 2015 test revamp)
For 3-1 (the only Third Level test I feel capable of semi-accomplishing right now), the only new movements are the half pass, flying change, and extended gaits. But let's not also forget the increased collection expected for Third. Now, let's break down how I feel about those…
Pig is baller at half pass. He's better at the canter than the trot, but is honestly capable in both. He picked these up super quickly and is a total champ. If these go poorly it's either a connection issue or total rider error. I need to keep my head in the game 100% and make sure Pig is listening to my outside half halts and leading with his shoulder. The bend and sideways is the easy part. As you see below, the issues come in when I brain fart something and stop supporting the outside.
|And this is our bad direction...|
Let's be honest, I ride a TB. He's always had changes, but they weren't "dressage" changes. I'm not 100% sure what kind of aid he was taught to do changes, as his were automatic by the time I got him. Two years ago I worked hard to train out the auto-changes. When I started asking for them again, he wasn't quite sure what my aids meant and would get very nervous when offering a change -- worried it was wrong, I assume. I tried to build up his confidence by heaping on the praise whenever he would make a change attempt, even if all he did was leap up in the air (and come down on the same lead) or change a stride or two late behind. I just wanted him to equate my cue with a change.
At this point he understands the cue, if I ride very clearly. However, he's a smart cookie and has started to assume I want auto changes again, and will begin to anticipate the change. His intelligence shows through in that he understands and readily accepts a counter canter cue to mean "no change here." Unfortunately, riding him straight into a change can make him pretty bargy and bolty (extremely scientific dressage terms there). I have to have lots of half halts and ride with an open and forward seat, without leaning at him to ensure he stays over his hocks instead of impersonating a dolphin.
|Dearest Guinness. It's a "horse" show. Not a "dolphin" show.|
This one is a total wash. We've only ever been mildly adequate at medium gaits, so the extended are going to be lucky to pull anything over a 5. I have to ride much more forward and in the front of the saddle than I feel capable of right now, and Pig needs to be a bit more flexible and balanced that he really feels. Right now, if we get them, I lose the connection. Bleh.
|If we get anything half this good, I'll be pleased as hell.|
I'm actually feeling pretty good here. We worked on our canter collection hard over the last month, and it is in a really good position. The trot collection is much better, but probably still not to the level the judges want to see. If our connection is better than we had in April, I'm hoping we can pull off "adequate" collection.
I guess it's obvious I'm not expecting to go in and rock out 3-1. However, I wouldn't have signed up for it if I didn't think we had a chance to take a crack at it. I'll be thrilled with a score above 50%, and don't really expect a score toward my bronze at all. However with my move making this my last definite chance to ride 3rd this year, I had to leap at it.
|I'll leave you with our awesome half pass right.|