Loch Moy III: Surviving The Slump

I just love Loch Moy.

Despite having been a total drama king at the trailer in between tests, Bast was actually really quiet walking to the ring. He felt pretty good, though still stiffer than I'd like. Especially going right, his ribcage release was particularly elusive.

I was riding 1-2, which is nice step up from 1-1. This is the first test with leg yields, which I was excited to ride in the ring. Though Bast's stiffness on the right was worrying me a bit, he was obedient. His screaming had vanished in the warm up, so I was feeling good.

One thing that I think really helped? Look below and see if you can spot it...

Hint: Look at the ears.

I had been so rushed tacking for the first test, I'd forgotten to put on Bast's magic muffle hat. Last year I invested in a neoprene lined ear bonnet, wondering if it could help muffle his ADHD ears and help me keep his focus. Honestly, it really seemed to help in this test. Or maybe his adrenaline high from the first test was finally wearing off.

As we warmed up, he felt pretty good, but the spark was gone. He was a bit behind my leg, and not really 100% in my hand. Nothing like Pig used to be, but definitely not accepting of all my aids. That made me a little nervous for the transitions in our test. Which, it should have!

This test starts off with a lengthening, and I did not have Bast completely through. When I put my leg on and asked for a bigger trot, he immediately broke into the canter. Definitely a facepalm moment, but one that was not completely unexpected. Though, it did lower my score pretty significantly.
Sorry for the awful zoomed in quality of this gif...

The rest of the trot work was a mixed bag. Both leg yields were too steep, and the judge marked us down to a 6.5 for hitting the track a half letter too early. Whoops. That's what I get for practicing without the ring set up.

First level has what I think are the most hateful set of transitions in all of dressage. In multiple tests, you come off the free walk, pick up the reins for the medium walk. Then one letter later you pick up the trot. Then one letter later (and usually directly in front of the opening at A) you pick up the canter. Those quick transitions are legitimately really hard. They're a test of obedience, aid acceptance, forward thinking in the horse, and rider preparation. We ... did not nail that test this time.
Dear Bast. Please do not exit at A. Thank you.

I lost total control of the outside shoulder. When I went to ask for the canter, Bast started to exit the ring. Not about to be eliminated for something so dumb, I jerked him back into the ring. We kicked the boards as we cantered and scored a whopping 5 for the transition (generous), but no elimination happened. WHEW!

It took me halfway through our 15m circle to get a half halt back in the canter. But, the next section of canter work scored well, including the diagonal trot transition. Somehow we'd made it until the final stretch trot circle. I bent Bast around my inside leg and prayed he'd keep his focus mostly intact. (Spoiler! He did!)

Mm stretch stretch.

As we cruised to our final halt, I found that I was pleased. While 1-2 wasn't a super clean test, Bast felt much more rideable. Plus, he screamed so much less. The judge didn't hate the test, but she didn't love it as much as the 1-1 test. It scored am incredibly consistent 64.7%, for 4th place.

There are a ton of things we can do to improve this test for next time. For starters, I need to remember that Bast is a very different ride when his adrenaline has worn off. He's borderline lazy, which can cause me to over-aid an push him off balance. That makes for breaks of gait. Annoying.

However, I am pleased with both scores and my horse. I do think he needs to get out to every damn show on the planet until he stops squealing, though. So that's the plan right now!


  1. Bastion the Bugle and his Majikal Hat, please do not exit at A until the end of the ride. Keep all hooves and legs and face and ears and tail and rider inside the arena at all times.

  2. I still hold firm in my belief that First Level is the Worst Level. You guys are looking soooo good tho, and I'm eternally jealous of your always gorgeous braids!

  3. Good save at A!! Lol oh Bast.


Post a Comment