Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fair Hill Dressage: she called our basics correct

Oooooh boy guys, do I have some photographs for you! Not a whole lot of words, sure, but YAY pictures!! Thanks again to Megan from Let's Get Ready to Runkle for snapping all these awesome moments!

mare is all business
As was maybe previously mentioned, I was showing solo at Fair Hill last weekend so only really had my own ride times to worry about. We had two hours between dressage and stadium, usually plenty of time to walk courses etc. Except, for anyone familiar with this venue - the stadium and cross country courses are a SOLID 15 minute walk from everywhere else.

prepping to enter at A
After some deliberation, I opted to arrive early and walk my courses before dressage, and then  just chill and decompress at the trailer with Isabel between phases. I budgeted a full hour for the course walks + round trip out to the xc field, and this proved to be spot on. More details on the cross country course tomorrow (complete with a TON more media, bc obviously haha).

#cutestexpression
Anyway it worked out really well - Isabel just stayed on the trailer until I was finished my walks, then never had to go back on again until we packed up to leave. Not bad, right?

Plus then I had a solid chunk of time to let her relax and graze while I ohhh sooo slowwwly got us prepped for dressage, still leaving about 30min for warm up.

mare looks cute. i could probably pick my hands up a bit more
Fair Hill has two main dressage areas at starter trials - a large arena that fits three courts, with a small nearby stone dust warm up pad. And then an entirely separate dressage ring over by the grandstands, with an uneven grass field for warm up. Given all the rain we've had, literally my only hope was to not have to warm up in the grass.

So naturally, that's where we were... womp womp. It ended up being fine tho. Some soggy spots, but nothing seriously slippery or heinous. And the mare didn't seem concerned with the footing in the slightest. In fact, she went immediately to work with zero protestations.

almost a nice canter pic!
It might not have been our most brilliant work ever, but she was soft and willing and just getting on with doing the thing. After w-t-c in both directions for about 7min, I called it good and let the steward know we'd go early should the opportunity arise.

she's got springs!
Ultimately, as I wrote the morning of show day, this event for me was about the jumping. Yes, I wanted to put in a nice test. But I really wasn't sweating it at all - and given how relaxed Isabel felt, we were happy to just stand around and chat with Megan, who incidentally found us right as we were waiting for go time.

being tired helps with the stretch
And the test turned out pretty darn smooth. Sure, there were areas that could have been better (she wasn't truly connected to both reins and I manufactured a lot of our inside bend with just the inside rein) but more likely than not, Isabel knows this test by now lol.

#nearlysquare
And she just hopped straight to it. Our canter departs are still a weakness tho they are noticeably improved from this time last year. And it's just a moment of inversion now - the canter mostly corrects within the next stride. Tho it's still a little motorcycle-ish I think; still our weakest gait.

looks about right to me
Mostly tho it was just a very steady consistent test. No video but the pictures tell a fairly accurate story. Isabel stayed nicely connected to the bit, and was even happy to flick her little toes out down the diagonals, adding some flash to an otherwise boring monotonous test.

faces. we make them.
I got off feeling really good about it - wobbly moments and all. This mare, guys. When she's good she is just GOOD. And she knew it too, just stood around and accepted all our doting affection telling her what a fancy little princess she is haha.

And of course Megan had to get in on the pictures too - tho naturally that meant getting a first hand introduction to Isabel's whole regal, holier-than-thou attitude haha.

oh so elegant. and haughty haha.
Then we had a solid two hours to just CHILL while waiting for my parents to arrive and then stadium and cross country. Talk about a relaxing show day! Esp with pleasant sunny weather and a nice drying breeze, who could argue?

Of course, you all know what happened next - the hot mess express train pulled right up into stadium (despite a solid warm up with coaching from Dan... ugh) and we had a refusal and another rail, and the resulting technical elimination. Blargh.

The dressage score of 31.5 had us in 3rd out of 8 in open BN, with scores ranging from 29 to 38. So the 8 penalty points in stadium would have been enough to drop us to the bottom of the pack anyway (tho it turns out there were two other TEs in our split - geez what on earth was in the water that day?!?).

smiling mare!!
Not that it really matters tho. My only true goal for the day was to do ourselves justice in the show jumping and build confidence there. Sadly that's not a box we can check off; mission not accomplished. I don't think it damaged confidence tho. If anything, I'm more resolute and determined than ever to get better.

So we will see. I've got some plans up my sleeve to address the issue.

Until then, tho - stay tuned for the real fun part of our event at Fair Hill - cross country time!!! And this was DEFINITELY a confidence building ride - lots to be happy about there :)

47 comments:

  1. You guys look so fancy! I love Izzy!!! :)

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    1. thanks! she was so so so good :D

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  2. im sooo happy i could come watch you guys. isabel is sososo cute im obsessed with her. she totally hates my face smooshing ways tho #sorrynotsorry

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    1. ha don't believe a word she says - she totally adores all the attention lol. just has to keep up appearances, ya know? lol thanks again for meeting up with us - and thank you so much for the photos!!!

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  3. #marecrush on Isabel. Can't stop, won't stop.

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    1. that's just the way she likes it ;)

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  4. I'm so jealous you don't have to put the stupid throatlatch attachment on your PS bridle for dressage. I find throatlatches surprisingly annoying and odd-looking now that I never use one.

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    1. schooling shows are best shows!!! seriously tho, i keep bringing the throatlatch with me just in case, and brought it up to the warm up last time to double check with the steward... didn't even bother this time. it's a stupid rule and they definitely don't care about stupid rules at schooling shows

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  5. That mare. I love her. You've done an incredible job by her with dressage the past year!

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    1. thanks! it's really amazing how well she has taken to the work. like she really understands it :D

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  6. Her ears look like they are going to snap off in that first photo! Her expression is the best! Looking forward to the rest of the recap!

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    1. ha she was cheesin pretty hard ;)

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    1. thanks - she is just so darn fun!

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  8. You and Isabel look great! Good job on the dressage and your turnout is super classy looking.

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    1. ha thanks! i had actually almost not even bothered and just worn my sun shirt instead of the jacket. glad i reconsidered tho!

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  9. You guys looked great! It's amazing how sometimes we get the best results in dressage when there isn't any pressure, lol. Seems like the girls say "Oh, you don't really care about dressage? Let's show them how it's done, then." And canter is hard, yo.

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    1. definitely! tho the lack of pressure was deeply rooted in believing this is historically a very good test for isabel (our two best scores ever are from this test) and trusting that it would go more or less well with minimal fussing and nitpicking from me. and obvi isabel agreed!

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  10. THAT TOE FLICK!! I loves it. Y'all look lovely, as per usual. :)

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    1. thanks! isabel wanted to remind everyone that she's still got those skillz even when i'm a bit of an idiot trying to jump haha

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  11. Also jealous of not having to use a throat latch! That is the one reason I don't use my PS bridle to show in

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    1. frankly i'm about 95% positive that it only matters at recognized events. most schooling shows (dressage OR eventing) don't particularly care about that level of detail in equipment, so long as it's not giving the rider an unfair advantage or it's not harmful to the horse

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  12. She is such a lovely mare and she looks totally amazing in that bridle. Of course she is a diva, with her looks, who is surprised??

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    1. ha yup, that's pretty much spot on. she's pretty and she knows it!! ;)

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  13. The comment Lovely Movement <3

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    1. this judge was so nice - stuck her head out of the car after we finished to compliment the horse. makes my cold little heart go pitter patter!

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  14. OMG her little face!! Stop it she's too adorable!!! I love the photos. And those are great, consistent marks. Nicely done! Official DQ stamp of approval :)

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    1. why thankyouverymuch!! she happened to be quite proud of herself lol. now if only i could do her that justice over fences lol...

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  15. Being tired does help with free walk, for sure! What a cute lil princess, so funny how she KNOWS it.

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  16. Great ride and some great pictures too. Sucks about the stadium and the TE, but the dressage looked great.

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    1. definitely sucks about the TE, but the other two phases (almost) made up for it ;)

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  17. That was a super solid test. So glad the weather was good for you.

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    1. thanks - i'm super glad the weather was good for us too! last year we got poured on at fair hill haha

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  18. You guys look SO professional. OMG

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    1. aw thank you :) isabel certainly felt like she knew exactly what we were doing out there !

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  19. I really don't think I have seen more pricked-forward ears in all my life in that first pic :) You two look incredible in the sandbox!

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    1. thanks! we just went out there and had fun. can't beat it!

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  20. some great shots!!! she looks pretty happy and really nicely together in those!

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