Monday, July 2, 2012

Dressage At Warp Speed

Where to begin...

The show was an overall wonderful experience. We went and accomplished every goal we had. Of course our goals were pretty simplistic and were along the lines of stay on and don't die! Okay, actually my goal was to just have a positive experience and I think that was mission accomplished.

It was a very long day starting at about 4:15 in the morning. I was the first of our group to ride at 8:21 and we had about an hour drive so we started off nice and early. We drove through some rain and wind and even some lightning so when we got to the show grounds we were not surprised to find out that they had decided to delay for an hour for the storms to pass. I was very happy to hear this because it meant extra time to get ready and warm-up.

I could have used a button like this!
Unfortunately, we found out about 8 MINUTES BEFORE I was supposed to be in the ring that the show organizers had changed their minds about the delay. Yep, I had about 8 minutes to get my horse saddled and both of us ready to ride our test. I got to the warm-up ring and was able to trot around and canter in one direction before they called me in for my test.

I was not surprised (and you might not be either) to read the judges comments about our test later that day. Pretty much all of the comments went along the lines of "... nice [blank] but quick." The judges final comment was "attractive horse but quick at times." Honestly, I have to go by what the comments were on my test sheet b/c I seriously don't remember anything about the test except that there were no major problems, no big spooks and I obviously remembered the test since I didn't have any errors. In the back of my head there was a small voice telling me to slow the heck down but after the utter panic attack of trying to just make it to my test on time I simply was not able to regroup and ride the test I know we are capable of. Also, not surprisingly, we didn't score all that well and were in 7th place after Dressage with a score of 39.5.

After the whirlwind that was dressage we had a loooong wait for jumping that didn't start until 1300. For some reason I was super nervous, I mean even more nervous than usual. It's possible I was still jittery from the morning but for whatever reason I didn't ride the best for jumping BUT we made it over everything!! No time faults and no jump penalties put us up into 5th place!
My girls were so excited that I won a PINK ribbon. Who cares about placings give us pink!!

I will say that our jumping style leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. Problems that we haven't had at home for a while popped back up at the show. Mainly I had a runaway a couple of times. Someone asked my trainer why I didn't just get a bigger bit and we both agreed that that would definitely not be the right answer in this case. Loki's answer to stress is to run, that is what he was trained to do for three years and the reason he ran off a bit with me at the show was simply his answer to a stressful situation. (Not to mention the couple of times I froze and got him in the mouth over a jump. Yeah, we definitely don't need or want a bigger bit!)  I was not riding the best because of my own nerves. And the thing is he's never been dangerous, he is smart enough to not hurt himself in panic (and I'd much rather have this than him bucking or worse). It just sometimes takes us a few seconds longer to slow down and get it back together. (I'm sure it looks a lot worse than it feels!) I know that we will get there we just need more experience under our belt mainly so I can stop freaking out because it is a show. I know once I get my own nerves under control he will be a completely different animal. But, the fact that he went over everything the first time was a major victory for us and we actually did have a fair number of very nice fences. He thought about running out at the very last fence (a very scary and bright yellow/green plank fence) and I just gave him a tap on his offending (in this case left) shoulder and he just bunny hopped right over it. Hunters we are not (at the moment) and it certainly wasn't pretty at times but by golly we got it done!

So yes, I would say it was a very positive experience for us. There was a photographer there but I don't know yet if there will be any photos available or not. I'm keeping an eye on the website to see if something comes up but I'm not holding my breath. Someday I am going to get some pictures of us in action but for now all I have is another trailer picture.
Chilling out after a hard day's work. I did fix his lead rope after these pictures.

That is Loki's half-brother Mr. Monte peeking out. He also had a nice day with no jump penalties.

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