|Eventing Nation did a write up of this thing, and I echo the writer's sentiments. This thing is amazing. Watch for a full review soon.|
|This pair was outstanding all weekend. You wouldn't have known it was little |
|Poor Sonka didn't really want to be a horse show dog in the rain. He's such a good sport.|
|When the weather looks like this, you have to find something enjoyable about showing.|
As my ride times approached, I took Pig and Sonka out for a jog in the field. Though we all ended up totally drenched, I felt really good about Pig's energy levels. He didn't feel fried, just ready to go.
|Sonka asks, "Why. Why are you doing this to me?"|
|I don't think gross is an appropriate adjective any more. Maybe "epic flood stage" is a little more accurate.|
|"This footing. SAVE ME, FOR I CAN NOT EVEN!" -- Pig|
I would like to point out my face in this series. You cannot accuse me of taking this behavior personally. I am SO ZEN.
|Boom. Work that counter canter.|
|This was probably our nicest halt of the weekend. Note Pig still trying to investigate the road to the left.|
|One of those nice steps just before I had to remind Captain Forehand he has a butt to sit on. Note to self, stop leaning back.|
|It's hard to shoulder-in with your knees up by your eyeballs. I'm honestly impressed he isn't more inverted here. He felt like he'd completely dropped out from under me.|
Still, the walk work was pretty good in this test. Pig's back didn't feel as free as the day before, but we had some relaxed wobble ears in the free walk. Hooray!
|Girl, look at that body...|
|Good pony here. Really impressed with how he kept his brain plugged in during the serpentine.|
Then the toughest part of the test hit. We had to do the same geometry as in 3-1, but not have a change. We needed to demonstrate counter canter. The first direction we did not manage this at all. Pig slipped in an auto change, which was very smooth. I couldn't remember the way the test was broken down, so I wasn't sure how to contain the error to one movement. That led to me freezing for a second out there, then bringing him to a walk way too early.
Still flustered, I blew the second canter transition, and we ended up striking off on the wrong lead. My fault, entirely. My reins ended up far too long by this point, and our medium canter was an exercise in creative riding to keep the impulsion AND the lead.
|Here you can see my hands saying, "don't you dare swap behind!"|
|HAUNCHES OUT PONY|
|Lovely halt, though horse still trying to daydream to the left.|
My supporters (Mom, husband, huskies, and Jan's husband) took shelter in a nearby empty steward's booth while I continued to get soaked in the rain. Jan, bless her, hung out by the ring to talk over my test.
|Saint status. Right here. Someone ring the cannonization bells and call the Pope.|
Of course I was already wet and on the horse, so I was still going to go through with my final test. My stress levels were absolutely zero, though. I think that made a huge difference. Pig was relaxing beautifully in the warm up. He was in the bridle better than 90% of our rides, and really listening well with zero stress. I schooled some half pass and a few half halts before wandering back up to the ring to put in our last ride.
The first halt was kind of a mess, but the half halt was there. I just didn't hold things together enough to get it square. Pig tried to stare down the judge in the halt, too. Probably trying to intimidate her, which ... may have worked? Either way, rounder and squarer would have been better.
|Laziest. Halt. Evar.|
Um. Guys. 3-1 doesn't start with a medium trot. Ooops. I took the error with a smile and started with a new centerline and turn, per the judge. Shoving my mind back in the game, I headed out to ride one of the best third level tests of my life.
Pig was forward and in the bridle. His topline was relaxed, and he was right with me.
The half passes and shoulder in definitely needed more bend. The first direction was more relaxed than the second, but I'm not complaining too much.
|Needs more body bend. But so relaxed!|
Our first turn on the haunches also garnered us a 7. I think it looks a little wide, but he does keep stepping, so I won't complain. This is a coefficient movement, so having a 7 helped a ton.
|Oh my god. This walk.|
I seem to have taught my thoroughbred a dressage gallop #whoops #tempofail #funtho
The second change, while called 'not quite on my aids' which wasn't true, was clean. We got a 6.5 on that change, which feels like a miracle. I giggled outrageously at this change, as I desperately tried to gather us back together for our downward transition.
|Gearing up for a clean one!|
|Look at this magnificent horse!|
Evolution of a half halt
Enjoy this brief clip from the test. Sadly, it's all that exists.
|This. This feels good.|