Loch Moy III: Tale of a screaming 65%
|Isn't he the cutest?! (Photo by Tara Jelenic Photography)|
Just about a week ago, we pulled into the show grounds 20 minutes before my 1-1 ride time. I feel like I'm getting to be a pro at showing up late to a show and surviving, though I'm not sure it's where I want to always find myself! Luckily my ring was running a ride time behind, giving me a little more prep time.
Other than being a bit tense and stiff, Bast was feeling pretty good. I my work getting him a bit more loose and bending wasn't entirely successful, but was really pleased with how forward and confident he felt. Honestly, given how much he was screaming the confidence I felt under the saddle was surprising.
Oh yes, the screaming... He screamed basically every 30 seconds during our entire first ride. In the warm up, I tried my best not to let it get to me. For the most part he was staying with me through it, and so I just kept riding and working on making him more supple.
Anyway, we headed in for our test. Of course circling the ring made Bast go a bit rigid again as we passed the spooky side of the arena. I sat the trot a bit on our way around, and was able to make two laps before being whistled into the ring.
|I didn't intend to sit the entry, but it helped keep him focused. (But didn't stop him from trumpeting our arrival. Lol!)|
Longtime readers might remember my consistent inability to ride an error free day at a recognized show. I have gone off course in just about every test I've ridden, which is kind of hilarious. It's basically my super power. However, today I can say I finally caught myself before fully committing to the error. Ha!
I knew the first movement off centerline was going to be a struggle the minute I started memorizing 1-1 in the truck on the way to the show. Every other test at this level immediately goes across the diagonal, but 1-1 sends you down the long side. I had to resist the temptation to turn onto the diagonal. It was hard, and I wobbled, but I did it.
|Sorry little guy. Mom is a terrible pilot. This bobble earned me a 5, for not being straight here. Deserved, but 110% on me.|
My goal for these tests was to focus on making my 10m circles have more bend. Bast tends to go rigid, and use his neck against me. With that in mind, I knew I needed to ride aggressively off my inside leg and make sure to keep him from flailing around too much.
Not every circle was great, but they were all much improved from our tests last year (and in practice). Bast's tension definitely worked against us on these, something I'll need to keep in mind.
|Look at him try to use that short little muscle neck against me. Sorry, bud. It's bend o'clock!|
The rest of our 1-1 ride, I was pleasantly surprised by Bast's rideability. While he was much stiffer than at home, he didn't come above the bit too much in his incessant screaming. In fact, the middle of test was pretty much solid 7s. Our lengthenings were definitely our weakest movements. Watching the test back, I can see why. In my canter lengthenings and second trot lengthening Bast braced his neck and didn't lift his back, we deserved the lower scores here.
By our final halt, I was actually laughing at Bast's 11th scream of the test. I couldn't complain much about the test quality, and I'd achieved my goals. We'd survived. I'd stayed on course (barely). And I'd ridden each movement of the test. Still, I knew it was lacking in many places. Let's not forget my horse had actually screamed all the way through it. (Seriously, count the screams as you watch...)
Imagine my surprise when I heard my name announced over the loudspeaker as the winner of the 1-1 class with a 65%! Wildly unexpected!
|Good boy, you screaming monster. (Photo by Tara Jelenic Photography)|
Of course we still had one test to go that day. As I watched Bast dig a hole at the trailer and scream for his friend, I wondered if we'd even survive until we got to the ring.