Chevaux Write Up, Part 2

One of our really nice canter departs. Look how soft and uphill he is!
This show was small, so I only had a few riders separating my First 2 and First 3 tests. I know the First 3 test better, and have practiced it more, so I wasn't too worried. Between  the tests, I knew I wanted to reaffirm our contact some at the trot and school our counter canter and simple lead changes.

Just as I did in my first warm up, I spent a lot of time at the walk establishing relaxation and contact. In a complete turn around of normal events, Guinness was very nervous and "chompy" at the walk, but settled into the rhythm and contact at the trot. I schooled the leg yields again, until I could get them without too much of a nervous breakdown, and we moved on to counter canter. This felt solid, and Guinness was relaxed so we headed for the ring.

My reflections on this test?

Centerline: Fairly straight. Decent halt. We lost connection in the upward transition, leading to a little wiggle and a hollow back. Though we recovered well, the turn at C was not very through (twisted head/neck, Guinness was not bending off my inside leg and stepping through with inside hind).

Lengthenings: Better in this test, and better the 2nd direction. Guinness looks slightly off or "hoppy," due to a slightly hollow back and lack of strength to sustain his balance as he transitions. Just needs more practice, meanwhile my hands need to bounce less and quietly follow more. (Use your elbows!)

Leg yields: Well, we have developed enough sideways travel to consistently make it to X and back to the wall without feeling like we are running out of space. Otherwise? The leg yield left was pretty good, haunches only slightly trailing. The leg yield right still looks like it takes Guinness completely by surprise, and needs considerable work. My plan right now? Widen my right rein to allow freedom in his shoulder without losing straightness.

Circles: Trot circles were okay, and the change of bend was negotiated pretty well. I need to work on properly sizing my 15 meter circles. I keep forgetting and riding more of a 20 meter circle the first time around in the canter. I also need to remember to keep my outside leg on to guide him around and keep him forward. But, I'm pretty okay with these for now.

Change of lead through the trot: We did pretty well on this, and my schooling is starting to really show. He popped out of the contact slightly, but still changed his bend and happily jumped into the other lead. I'm not complaining, but I'm leaving this movement on our list of "needs improvement."

Canter Lengthens: Thinking leg yield right before I ask for the lengthen has helped us be straight, now I just need to be braver and allow Pig to motor on out. This should be a strength for us.

Canter loop: Honestly, I'm pretty happy with these. I could finesse the geometry, but overall they are calm and cadenced. I'm not too concerned with these. (My, how far we have come ...)

Walk work/stretching: Just okay. The walk should be a strength, but needs to maintain relaxation. The stretchy circle is always going to be a pain, but more work at the rising trot and with changes in contact should help improve this score. Biggest point? Don't forget to post the stretchy circle!

Final Score? 61% Check out the video below, and try not to vomit from the shake. My husband is no great videographer, but I still appreciate the effort!

Overall, I felt like this show was a success. It feels like a definite improvement from our May outing, and reaffirms that we are on the right path. I don't think we are quite ready for our recognized show yet, but I'm confident that we will be. The work we have to do is finessing the test and really working riding with the same quality the whole time, not hacking through the big issues. That's a good thing, and I'm ready to get started!
Our last lengthen was certainly our best! Still some tension in the neck and we weaved all over the place before finally getting the haunches under, but I'm supremely happy with the push I'm seeing develop behind!
One sweet moment? After untacking, a massive rainstorm blew in. I left Guinness to stand tied to the trailer in the cool rain, while I stood inside the trailer escaping the downpour. Standing quietly, eating his damp hay, Guinness was perfectly calm amid the bustling of those running for cover. Every little while, I would stick my hand out through the slats and rub his ears. In return, he'd raise his head and sniff my hands, obviously searching for bits of apple. It's these type of moments that make me most thankful for this big red horse. He may not be the most talented dressage partner, but he is fantastic at just being a partner. I love watching his big ears perk up when I call his name, and am constantly wowed by the seemingly boundless trust he puts in me. He's been the perfect horse for me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Show Stats:
Hours away showing: 7
Number of things forgotten: 3
Bags of licorice consumed: 1
Number of tests: 2
Average %: 61.5%
Worth it? Absolutely!
After admitting my intense love for licorice to you all, I feel this was a necessary photo.
... now I'm hungry :)


  1. That kind is the ONLY kind of licorice that I like

    1. Ha! I love black licorice, but in the interest of sharing with others I usually bring along the strawberry. I end up saving the black licorice as a treat to have with tea (so good!).

  2. Howdy! So I just stumbled upon your blog. Love your horse! I used to show at St. Marys of the Woods back when I did the intercollegiate thing (for Ball State). Small world!

    1. Small world indeed! I love reading about your Hampton. Welcome!

  3. Busy road at C! He looks more fluid than when we saw you in May. Love that trot pic!

    1. Yeah, that's Highway 36. It's not crazy busy, but the speed limit is pretty fast. The first time we showed at this facility Pig lost his marbles when a semi blew by as we were trotting around the ring. I could not get him back (he actually tried to take off with me during the canter work in Training 3). Apparently all the work we've been doing has paid off, he barely flicked an ear at the semis this year! Thanks for the sweet words, I think we're getting more comfortable with the work for sure!

  4. That road was crazy, for sure. The loops looked very nice! All we can do is keeping on trying to improve, huh?! Looks good! :0)

    1. Aw, thanks! Dressage, the constantly winding road to betterment ...


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