For me, it's a great way to dip my toes into competitive events without feeling a lot of pressure. Plus, since I help organize and set everything up (including planning the jump course!), I have a pretty good feeling for how it's all going to ride.
July's event was my first judged dressage test ever, and it was enlightening. Fortunately the judge didn't find any training holes that I didn't already know about.
But I learned that I ride much more passively during the actual test - more passenger than pilot. So that's an area for improvement this next time around. We're getting the same judge for this next event, so I'm looking forward to hearing her take on our progress.
The jump arena was set in a big field and included terrain + dewy grass, which ended up causing a lot of problems for some horses (we were no exception). So this time around, we'll open the jump ring a few hours after the show actually starts, so that the grass will be drier and riders are more likely to be finished their tests in time. We also adjusted the location of the arena relative to the field to get flatter terrain.
the september version. pretty, no?
Our stadium round in July was ok-ish enough. Izzy was pretty keyed up and giraffing around by this point and wayyyy over-jumped everything (repeatedly popping me out of the tack), though at least we mostly found decent distances. Our lack of organization and balance actually led to a huge 'oh shit' moment after jump three, wherein she nearly fell on her ass.
She trotted off sound though, and jumped more conservatively and 'across' instead of 'up' after that. I also opted to trot into the remaining lines and through all the corners afterward, too. Silly mare.
video of our stadium round. check out 0:53 for our derp moment
her pride was a little sore... but she recovered quickly
We were in second after dressage (should have been third, really, had another student made actual circles instead of squares), and the rider in first had a refusal in stadium. So despite nearly eating it, our round was technically clear and moved us into first! yay us!
All in all, Isabel felt confident over fences, but wasn't jumping as well as she usually does in the arena, and we had some serious deer leaps in warm up.
Since we haven't been able to practice in the newly set up turf ring (and might not be able to at all), I'm doubting the wisdom of moving up to 2'3"... so I will probably stay at 2', though at least it'll be a w-t-c dressage test this time around.