Tuesday, June 27, 2017

MCTA Dersage + Show Jompies

Apologies in advance bc we have lots and lots of photos but not only are they all exclusively cell phone video stills, but they're all a bit zoomed too. But ya know. Photos are photos, right? Esp since I know a lot of you don't watch the videos (which, like, you're totally missin out!).

it's getting easier to find pleasant moments for cherry picking in our videos
Anyway.  In past years, dressage has usually started early enough that riders could warm up in the stadium warm up area too, since jumping started later. I think that was also the case this year, but for whatever reason everyone was warming up in the grass around the two dressage courts.

mostly we still kinda shuffle around, but better more improved moments are happening more often, even if we can't string them together for a full movement yet 
That was fine enough for us, so over we went. Tho Charlie kept tripping in the same downhill section. Which like, bro. C'mon. Pick your feet up!

And somewhat hilariously, when we started circling before our test, I opted to do a full loop around the court to present my bridle tag to the judge. This meant stepping over the rail road tie lining the arena and walking over a slight incline in the terrain. Which Charlie proceeded to trip over in a slow motion stumble that lasted about 5 strides. All throughout which, I assured the amused onlookers that "this is, in fact, a jumping horse, I swear." Ahem.

lol. but don't worry, we still have those other moments too
"dis how dersage, rite?" - charlie, probably
Anyway. It didn't necessarily get much better for our test. In Charlie's constantly evolving level of training and experience, he discovered this very day that maybe, since I want him to put his head down, he could but his head down. Think: diving and curling and generally bobbing and weaving in the contact. Which.... naturally only exacerbates his tendency to get heavy up front, a little downhill, and trip-happy.

the canter is his best gait but it's hard to do justice in a small court. we're figuring it out tho!
We rode BN-B, our second time doing this test (the first being in the schooling dressage show a couple weeks ago) and actually I really like this test for Charlie. It's a lot of unjudged trotting around as we change directions hither and thither, but the test has a very unhurried rhythm to it (at least, right up until the very end).

pretending to be fancy lol
With Charlie right now, we are struggling to find the balance of 'impulsion and moving forward from his hind end' and 'running.' Because basically I need Charlie to keep coming forward from his hind end, be a little quicker from behind, but slow down his front end while still giving him enough forward freedom to get his big ass shoulders up out of the way of his hind legs. It's.... a challenge lol.

mostly i'm just looking for any moment where his hind end appears to not only be attached to the front end, but that it's actually actively participating in the ride too lol
I'm actually pretty happy with how he did in this test tho. He was obedient. Did all the things where he was supposed to do them. Our circles looked like circles - even sorta at canter!! Canter transitions happened well enough and he got both his leads. And he was able to turn right at the A-end of the dressage court without feeling like we might jump the chain.

charlie started nodding at the judge in our halt and for some reason i started mimicking him. it's in the video. it's ridiculous. but.... that's how we roll i guess!
The rest of our downwards continue to be a problem tho. And actually the final little "tour" of this test - canter to trot to walk at C, free walk across the short diagonal, then trot at K before turning up the center line - is maybe the hardest part for us. Our transition at C was atrocious, as was the walk that followed. Tho the free walk was ok-ish bc I could push him out a smidge more.

I was late to trot at K tho (whereas like, a better strategy would have been to be early) and... center lines continue to be hard for the big guy.

and there are some real gems in there - try to count how often the judge says "labored" lol

I'm happy with the test tho. It's not where I want to be, since we're still very much at an 'in between' phase of Charlie's training. And he very badly needs to develop more strength behind. He's already light years ahead of where he was when I first got him in that regard (and is therefore WAY more sound because of it).

But we still need more. That's always the hardest part about going through a big transformative journey with a horse, right? We've come so far, and the difference is so vast, that it can be hard to see that there's still just so much more that needs doing lol. C'est la vie, tho.

For now, I'll take our 40%s in dressage and be happy with them for what they are.

finally givin the big boy something to jump
Let's move on tho. Let's get to the show jumping phase, easily our strongest test of the day. And the one I had been most nervous about going into the event.

and he was actually a little impressed by the jumps too! we're getting awfully close to 'clearing the standards' territory here!
The jump course was set for N when I walked it in the morning - and it was actually really reassuring to see that it was set such that most of the jumps were the same height Charlie and I had schooled the day prior in our jump lesson with trainer P at OF.

it was also a lot of fill and shapes and decorations that he hasn't seen before
My general rule of thumb for walking courses - specifically xc, but also stadium - is to not get too close to any of the fences on my course, especially if they look big to me. Bc I really strongly feel like I, personally, do not need to know if they're actually pretty big. So I give them a wide berth lol. Obvi the exception there is if there's a related distance that I need to walk.

and naturally we always have to have at least one goofy flyer
Conversely, however, I will absolutely get very up close and personal with the next-level-up jumps. Really trying to objectively measure and familiarize myself with their dimensions. Bc if they look doable - then my own jumps should definitely be doable! And if they look big? Nbd, mine will be smaller! Brain hacks ftw, y'all.

this oxer was maybe one of the biggest on course. charlie apparently wanted to make it bigger
So walking the course set for N, and realizing that it was set pretty softly at a height that Charlie had just snoozed over the day before, well. That was reassuring. And it was a pretty good course too. Lots of turns, tho they all had enough space for us to do what we needed doing. Lots of changes of direction and jumps on bending approaches. And very visually interesting jumps.

My only sadness was that N had a very doable looking two stride, but they took it out for BN. Oh well, next time!

wheeeeeee!!!!!
Anyway - onto actually riding it. Charlie clobbered the vertical once in our warm up - which I was appreciative of bc he then cleared the oxer with gusto haha. Nothing like a good knock to remind the ponies what's up right before going into the ring!

still have a bit of a left drift issue tho.... oh well, all in good time!
Charlie continued to really clear these fences too - he was actually a little impressed by them. It made him nicely rideable tho. I was pleased with how quickly I could get him back after each fence (something we had specifically worked on the day prior in our lesson), while also being able to soften and ride forward to the jumps without running past our distances.

la-la-la-leeeead change!
PLUS. Homeboy nailed all his auto changes. Not a single simple change on course. Yessss! We haven't specifically practiced that - I honestly tend to leave changes alone bc I'm not super coordinated and don't want to introduce anxiety into that equation. 

Plus both my favorite jump trainers tend to be of a mind that it's best to either try to land the lead, or allow the horse to volunteer what it will. I definitely like that Charlie is volunteering tho!


So all told, I was quite happy with the course. It felt very grown up, very easy for the horse. There are still some bobbles in there - he got major air over 3, and we kinda launched 5 then nearly missed the turn to 6. Plus, after 7 Charlie almost ran straight out the gate instead of turning lol...

Really tho, it was a good round for us and I left the arena feeling pretty satisfied with it. It's basically a brand new height for Charlie - considering how slowly we've been introducing height. But the slow and steady approach has definitely paid off and the horse feels pretty confident in getting over the fences, even when he's a little impressed.

I didn't know it at the time, but after stadium we were sitting 8th of 9. You already know how we finished after cross country, but it wasn't for lack of trying! And actually it was a pretty darn good run, even if it basically only ends up amounting to schooling. Stay tuned for details soon!

41 comments:

  1. His knees over jumps get cuter every time. How such a large horse is so adorable I'll never know. What a good boy. Y'all look amazing, Emma.

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    1. Thanks girl ;) I was just watching the video you took at loch Moy in March- there's such a difference already! He's just so good tho, makes it easier!!

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  2. You have made amazing progress!!! You guys look great.

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    1. Aw thanks, I'm so freakin proud of him! Very eager for the day when we can make better work of the dressage haha, but still proud of his progress :)

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  3. Charlie you're growing up so fast!!! That was a legit course and it looked so easy!

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    1. He did an inside turn and everything!! I was honestly pretty sad that they took the two stride out bc all that was missing from the course were related distances lol

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  4. Charlie is growing up fast!! I never realize how big he is until you post videos. That is a lot of horse to bend around those turns.

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    1. Lol yea he's definitely giant!!

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  5. You two made that jump course look easy!

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    1. thanks! he's really been a pretty easy horse to work with in a lot of ways!

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  6. He's so damn cute when he jumps I just can't get over it. like cannot at all. Squee!

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  7. I'm so impressed with Charlie! The two of you are doing great!

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    1. aw thanks, i'm so pleased with him and how well he keeps rising to every occasion!

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  8. Lookin' good for sure! B and I find the same problem in dressage. He can collect up and be soft and responsive, but he's not forward enough. Then when I put a leg on he kind of falls apart as if to say, "Jump now?" Derp.

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    1. charlie can actually be quite forward - the issues is that he gets to be running too much on his forehand and his hind end can't keep up. so i need to be able to slow down his front end while continuing to ride the hind end forward. something that requires more strength and push from behind, and he's still got a lot of developing to do in that regard...

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  9. LOOK AT THAT GROWN UP JUMPING HORSE! Wow wow wow!

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  10. lol oh the dressage test... how do you do the cantering bits int he tiny ring??? he has a really really nice walk though. im all about dat walk.

    but the jumping is really coming along the most - i cant believe this is the same horse that ate it over a free jump what like, two months ago? he looks AWESOME. also those jumps look huge. i did x's yesterday. i'm just gonna keep buying baby horses so i never have to jump big ever again.

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    1. ha charlie's got a pretty solid walk but it hardly compares to a certain BSW Covfefe that i know of ;) and yea his canter is the bomb but we haven't been able to really do it justice in the small court yet. bc.... giant horse problems. sigh.

      the flip side tho is that the giant horse makes "big" jumps look easy. i'm actually shocked to be jumping this height right now, like it totally took my by surprise. later in the day when everything was set to intro, i looked around and was like "yup this is the height that looks good to me right now" - and that was AFTER we had already done our own courses. but big horse wants to jump "big" jumps so.... off we go! i'm sure Indy will feel similarly in no time too!

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  11. He looks so great! And yeah he is a looonnnnggg horse and some of those BN dressage turns are hard when your pony is both long and still building up hind end strength! Still, so much progress in such a short time! Good boy Charlie!!

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    1. omg he's so long.... and those turns are hard enough when he's more or less put in one piece. but when his hind end is in a whole 'nother area code? yeesh. hard haha.

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  12. WOW Emma! Charlie looks so great jumping! I can't believe the progress you guys have made already! Also, labored...

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    1. lol the 'labored' cracked me up! thanks tho, i'm so proud of the big guy :D

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  13. great job and i think you both look amazing! And sheesh i have trouble in the small arena with my canter with Remus (15 hand short coupled QH) so can't even imagine dressage with Charlie. Same with stadium that is a lot of horse to turn :) YAY! Good going!

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    1. ha i can totally see how remus might have his own challenge in getting around the court too - they all have their ticks! luckily charlie has enough 'go' to sorta keep carrying us forward.... but it's damn tricky to steer lol, and can easily careen into a very unbalanced sensation lol

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    2. it just is nuts by the time you get them to canter, three strides and the circle is done LOL (this is for BN test A...LOL) it is nuts.

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    3. lol yea.... luckily charlie steps into canter pretty easily. test A is hard for us bc it's hard to get him back down to trot again *before* E or B, whereas in test B you've got longer to make that transition happen. makes it easier!

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  14. I love watching him grow up and learn to use that giant body. :-)

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    1. meeeee too :D we've still got a lot of work to do - specifically with bigger jumps it's becoming increasingly important that we get him using his hind end better (i see a lot of grids in our future). but the development is happening, slowly but surely!

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  15. Whoop whoop!! That is AMAZING! I think you have such a great attitude about dressage, I love that you praise what he does right and don't get hung up and what is not quite happening yet. Charlie is so lucky to have you! Great SJ video too, you guys are cruising around making it look effortless ��

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    1. aw thanks! i definitely prefer trying to find things to be happy with - and charlie seems to do much better if i can find reasons to tell him he's a good boy lol. we'll just keep working on the other stuff haha. but yea at least the jumping seems to be going really well!

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  16. Awesome tha the volunteered the lead chance and YAY for circular circles instead of Impressionistic Art Circles! (I have an MFA so that's my reasoning behind my liberal interpretation of a circle)

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    1. ha exactly! there is a time and a place for interpretative dance, but the dressage course probably aint it (unless you're doing a free style, i guess). but also, definitely yay for lead changes!

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  17. Whoo, pretty knees, Charlie! :)

    The five-stride trip cracked me up. I've ridden one like that!

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    1. ha yea, it's charlie's specialty lol

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  18. Go Charlie Go! Love the show jumping pics, you both look like you're having so much fun!

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    1. it is SO MUCH FUN to be back out and doing it again!!! :D

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  19. ahh the fun of a green horse! Really proud of your stadium round, it's always my toughest part. I want to pick pick pick

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  20. You guys look great and dressage is SO HARD! I'm at the same point where I'm trying to convince Katai that forward doesn't mean moving her legs faster and it's such a tough concept to explain to her.

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  21. OMG I love you bobbing your head too at the end LOL Secretly I think the judge should've given you artistic points for that :D. But yay for circular circles! Man those things are hard. And bigger doesn't help. My reining circles were ALWAYS off lol. But Charlie's knees! <3 Gorgeous!

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