Loch Moy 1 | Training 3

Alternate titles for this post include: "Return of the Mouth Chomper"; "Geometry Is My Nemesis"; and "When Tension Strikes"
Though we look pretty good here...
Honestly riding back to back tests is not my favorite way to show. I like a minute to remove the bridle, get a drink of water (for both my horse and myself), and stress out about learning my next test somewhere where I'm not bugging my horse. With Bast, I find he's still green enough to showing that he'll quickly go from on fire to literally shooting sparks from his burned out brain if his ride goes on too long.

Unfortunately for us, we reached the point in our second test. I'm calling it "Baby Brain". Basically, our Training 3 test did not have as mature of a horse as the Training 2 test. Some of that is me, I was getting tired and dealing with adrenaline fall out. That made my position less strong, and made my hands and legs less supporting. If Bast needs anything, it's hand holding and support with my entire body in the ring.
Yes, he looks brilliant here. But what am I doing with my left hand? And why?
All this to say, I'm not at all disappointed with the test we laid down. I feel like it's more where I expected our efforts to be. Here's the video if you want to follow along in the recap:

Our centerline was wiggly, but overall straighter than our T2 entry. I managed to stop him from falling off to the left as hard as he had in the previous test, but at a sacrifice of even front legs and riding forward. Ah well. I'm absurdly proud of how he struck out from the halt. It took me years to get a strike off that nice on Pig. Like, seriously. I think it took me until 3rd level.

Almost immediately there was an issue pretty apparent... I had very little access to my left bend. Also, my horse was clearly tired and not wanting to move forward in as open and balanced frame as he had in the first test. He kept falling on his forehand and pulling on me. Note the second half of the first diagonal.
A lot more open mouth in this test, too.
So basically, I felt more like I was wrangling a young horse around a training level test. You know, not completely surprising.

What was awful? The moment I realized I hadn't practiced the 3 loop serpentine in an appropriately sized ring since the last time I rode this test. Eek! I sat for a long time before going in just trying to figure out where to place my loops.
"In a perfect world, I'd put on there, and there, and there... I think?"
I don't hate the first serpentine placement, but I do hate the lack of bend. When I did finally get Bast to yield his ribcage, he stepped right into the canter. Lovely, buddy. But not what was actually required. More training needed to access ribcage without triggering canter transitions.

When it did finally come time for him to canter, he was a little self conscious and thus did a mini leap into the gait. I'm proud that I didn't get as left behind as I remember.
One stride later, we're in balance again.
The canter work just amplified what I mostly able to smooth over in the trot ... my horse is actually 7 going on 2.

 He was wiggly, he wanted to drag himself with his shoulders, he wanted to gap his mouth and lean for a minute to see if we could be done. He also clearly wanted to break. My impulsion was gone.
Riding downhill in a level ring. It's a talent, that we have.
This basically describes what happens in both directions of work. The down transition from the canter was a bit unorganized and messy, but the walk transition made me quite happy.

Also, once we lost the impulsion of the trot and canter, his mouthing really amped up in the walk. Also he felt the need to sing the song of his people ... which comes out hilariously whiny in the ring, as he knows he's not supposed to do it. Apparently the judge laughed at him. That's cool, I did too.
When it came time for the free walk, I wanted to show the judge the open mouth wasn't me, just tension and baby brain coming out. I made sure to show a full release of the reins. Bast, love him, stretched, but left his mouth open in angry baby basilisk protest.
I mean, the walk is lovely, tho?

We had a bubble in the second canter work where he pulled, broke, and I thought he swapped behind, pulling him up to fix it. Unfortunately for me, it was just a moment where his rhythm got choppy and I felt things wrong.
HORSE! You must stop doing this and expecting me not to boot you forward. Srsly.
The whole thing felt like foreverlong in the moment of the test, but lookls like just a blip of time on the video. Ah well. We continued in the right lead and finished the movement. By this time, however, I was flustered and he was flustered. When we came down the long side in the trot for the stretchy circle, I tried to straighten him and he broke to the canter again. My fault entirely.

The stretch was okay. I'm proud he's figuring out to stretch down and out. Even when baby basiliking. (Yes, that's a verb now)
Oh baby horse.
And just like that, the test was over. Our final centerline was very drunk, but the halt was much more forward and square. Overall a mixed bag.

I had no idea what the score would look like on that mess. So, I was pleasantly surprised to walk out with a 61.2%. I'd signed us up for a qualifying attempt during this test, which this technically qualifies for. I guess I'll take it.
I think we both look happy at an overall positive first recognized experience.
Obviously little baby Bast brain needs more miles, and I need to actually do my test riding homework. However, I do think we're mostly there when it comes to Training level. Bast's acceptance of the aids is much better on the average than this second test. Knowing that, I think we're looking at a possible successful move up to 1st by the end of the year.



Ask me later.
I do kinda like him, though.


  1. gosh he's pretty <3 i'm still so so happy that Bast's recognized debut went so well despite everything! and it's nice to know that even his "not best" is still good enough for a qualification! i might happen to know a particular dressage brontosaurus who.... is a little jealous of that haha

    1. TBF to The Bay Bronto, it's a lot easier to turn when you're barely hitting 15.3. LOL

  2. Baby brain is hard. When I put Carmen’s bridle on for the ribbon ceremony she looked at me like ‘you are not serious’. I 5ink it was better than you think.

  3. again even with baby brain you guys look amazing. He has come so far. I see big things ahead :)

  4. Yay Bast! You guys look great, I enjoy watching your progress :)

  5. Great to see you in that fancy coat again! Looking sharp.

    Congrats again on a great test. Baby is growing up!

  6. He looks fab, despite the baby moments which we all have! Great job with him,

  7. Maybe he was trying to call the Huskies so they could voltron into a new beast and GTFO of there haha. Like you already iterated he probably was just done mentally for the day and you too, its hard getting the ball rolling but you'll be back into the swing of things before you know it.


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