Dressage at Twilight Eventing: The Test
|I feel like this picture is an accurate representation of our test. Forward, but tense. Green, but willing. Also a touch off balance.|
(All photos thanks to Brita!)
That said, I still wanted to put our best foot forward. I was also very interested to see what parts of our training at home would stick around at a show, and what issues would be more apparent in the ring. Basically, this was an opportunity to get to know "Bast the Show Horse."
|Horse Show Bast is basically Tense and Stiff Bast.|
Let me start off by saying we didn't practice at all for this test. I cursorily rode it in a tiny corner of my home ring the week before the show... once. In that basic ride through I realized a few things.
1. Compared to third and fourth level this test was basically the easiest thing to memorize.
2. I had never done a trot/halt with this horse. Or a straight centerline.
2. Canter departs were going to be really difficult to contain in a small ring.
We schooled the halt transitions a few times, I reconciled myself that they would be an utter mess, and packed for the show. I don't remember schooling a single one in the warm up.
|So yeah. Basically the centerlines and halt transitions went as well as you'd assume with zero schooling.|
Somehow we ended up pulling a 7 for our trot and 20 meter circle left. When first reviewing the score, I thought the judge might have been totally high in her box. What I rode out there felt a lot more like wrangling a herd of squealing weasels through a chute than guiding a young talented horse through a basic circle. But then I saw this photo and kinda understood.
|Holy SHIT. Is that my horse?!|
|I mean. It's kinda uphill?|
The judge awarded us a 6.5, noting the depart was "tense" and we "need bend." How tactfully understated, madam.
|Just before Bast took matters in his own hands and broke to the trot.|
|He was not interested in my advice. #motorcyclingforlyfe|
This really showed when we headed into the free walk. Without contact you can't expect a horse to stretch in the free walk, especially if this horse is tense. As the judge said, our free walk had "nice energy" but his poll was very high. (6.5)
|The moment before he swung his head into the air like a periscope searching for |
This makes it more impressive to me that our next movement, a 20 meter circle of course, scored a 7. The judge wanted to see Bast more in my outside rein (so did I), but overall seemed to really like the picture. By this point he felt like he was starting to relax a bit and drop into the contact in the second half of the circle.
|This photo is from the other direction, but, like, just pretend he's facing the other way. Okay?|
|I swear to god this judge was selectively blind.|
|She must've really just loved his good moments to not give us a 4 on this whole movement.|
That lack of balance really came into play when Bast again decided to try to break to the trot before B, and I closed my legs to ask him to "please for the love of god canter 2 more steps, you dirty bastard."
|"We stop. Now." -- Bast|
|"I've got ... legs?" -- Bast|
I wish, lady. I wish.
Immediately we had to turn up the centerline for our final halt. Those centerline turns are so hard with green horses, but somehow we made it happen. By this point Bast was getting quite tired and had fully committed to the wiggle game.
|This is the straightest moment of the whole centerline.|
The judge gushed over Bast after our test. She was so impressed he was a thoroughbred, thinking him a baby warmblood. She ended up giving him a 7.5 on gaits, which is just ridiculous. She also gave me a 7.5 for my position and seat, which I think is the highest any judge has ever valued my position.
|They like us! They really like us!|