Tuesday, April 5, 2016

after xc, we dressage

The day after our semi-triumphant xc school we headed back to OF for - you guessed it (or at least you should have if you read this post's title!) - some dressage. Specifically, a schooling show. This was the same series entered before the blizzard earlier this year. And, for that matter, the same series we entered multiple times last year but never actually got to ride in.

trotting this way
We finally did it this weekend tho! Despite 30mph winds (gusts around 40mph, just a tad intense), we made do. Or. Ya know. Tried. It's kinda been a known thing with at least Isabel, but probably most horses, that trying to fancy prance right after running xc can be a bit of a mixed bag. Esp in crappy weather conditions.

trotting that way
Wind is so tricky too bc all the horses are extra touchy. Something about sensory deprivation I think - they can't hear as well and kinda freak out about it. I literally thought I might die trying to feed that morning. It was slightly crazy. Isabel was mostly fine tho. Just walking that fine line between being seriously over reactive but simultaneously tired and verging on breaking.

i love her ears tho
Our warm up was really not great. Idk. I probably needed more time I guess. It didn't help that the show had been running about 15 min late all day, but then suddenly got ahead of schedule in time for my rides - the last of the day when everyone was eager to go home and I was kinda not willing to go early. Oh well.

just a-free-walkin...
Isabel was just ... Reactive I guess. Trying, but mostly kinda faking it. Our first test training b (source of all the video stills you see) was a bit of a train wreck, with us zooming all over the place and the mare refusing to actually fill up the bridle.

training b
Our 15m trot circles were too small actually, judge disliked our downwards from canter to trot, and our stretchy trot appeared briefly for about four separate strides in the second half of the circle. All of these things are technically fixable, tho the stretchy trot might be the toughest. We can usually manage some decent stretch while schooling (and did so while warming up) - but it isn't exactly "on demand." It's slow to develop. And also, erm, highlights just how false Izzy can be in the contact when I let the reins go and she stays stuck BTV lol.

Anyways, scoring seemed a bit generous - but I'm pretty much in agreement with all the notes.

lots going on in this pic haha
A quick walk break and we got more of the same in test two - prelim a - which I rode in rising trot again bc schooling show haha. It was fine tho.

This test maybe went a little better, tho I still can't decide whether it was an improvement on the last time we rode this test or not. Isabel was still quite reactive - visible in the video especially in her abrupt downwards haha, and the judge pointed out after the fact that I was letting her have too much authority in choosing our tempo.

hold it together!
Transitions seemed more or less accurate (even if many upwards were hollow... le sigh), corners were about half and half on whether we got into them in a balanced fashion (ahem, fishtailing into the corner totally doesn't count Izzy!).

First trot lengthening we very nearly broke to canter. Second felt better but we got dinged for getting too flat by the end. That part kinda bummed me out bc I was probably preparing too early for our transition into working trot and the corner so we could make it down the center line for our final halt. But we got an 8 on that turn so... maybe it paid off? Idk, probably I should be able to get an 8 on our lengthening and still be able to pull an 8 on the center line turn, not one or the other. Life goals people!

halt, salute, collapse in exhaustion
Leg yield left felt phenomenal - like we really had the 'bend right to move left' thing going down. It's hard to see in the video tho, and actually looks like it was leading with the shoulders more than it felt. We pulled a 7 tho, so I'm gonna say it was definitely good for us.

Leg yield right was still deservedly a 5. That whole outside rein connection thing... Still needs work! Canter work started out ok - I felt (and maybe kinda can see) a distinct-ish transition from medium to working canter... but then we kinda just kept building again through the canter loops and diagonal change of reins.

good mare :)
I think part of the problem with my loops is that I literally have only ever schooled them in a large court - and usually to the center line. So doing shallow quarter line loops in a small court is just an entirely different piece of geometry and I keep sorta getting behind the movement and trying to play catch up. It's not very pretty lol.

prelim A
Anyway tho, I'm still pretty happy with the score. Again - I think it was judged a touch more generously than the last time we rode it. Meaning I wouldn't exactly expect to pull these scores at a rated show when we ride like this. But when we are riding at our best? Maybe. I think probably maybe yes, we could.

And obviously when I say 'rated show' I mean rated first level dressage haha, NOT a recognized event. We are obviously not running prelim haha - doing the dressage does not equal doing the jumping phases! But first level - I think we pretty much got it. Sorta. This ride didn't feel like our best, and the judge said we were 'knocking on the door'- which I think suggests she meant we have more work to do. But ya know. We're gonna keep working on it so it's all good haha.

I only did video of the prelim test bc I was short on time (sorry!) and the training test is more boring anyay. As usual, it has our scores noted directly in the video. Enjoy!

isabel trying to pull off her "big brother's" BoT sheet haha
So that's probably our last little dressage show for a little while, as we shift gears to preparing for our first three phase event of the season next week!!! Exciting!!


  1. Wind is a hard thing to deal with, but you guys are still looking good!

  2. Wind is awful! I haaaate riding in it!

    Pictures look great though!

    Good luck at your first event!! I'm sure you will do amazing!

  3. dude the freakin wind. ive gotten really good at pretending everything is fine and not a big deal to trick runkle and he's either buying it or he's the worlds sanest horse.

    im REALLY impressed with your prelim score!!! PRELIM TEST! good on you!

    non sequitor (ish): how do you find the BOT sheet?

  4. Um props to you for showing in that wind, AND scoring in the 30s'! Pony hates the wind and will just clamp his little ears to his head and hunker down and whine about it. Isabel is such a good sport!

  5. Great job riding in that wind! I love her tempo at the trot and her enthusiasm at the canter! She's like a bouncy ball (in a good way)!!! Oh and I saw a preview of extended trot in there -- wowza!

  6. the wind was no joke!! I am impressed you had the consistency you managed to get in that test despite that!

  7. Surviving a show in the wind is major props! Good luck next week at your event!!! Hopefully the weather will cooperate!!!

  8. Showing IN that wind? Wow, mad props. Great scores!

  9. I hate wind. Good on you for getting it done.

  10. Riding in the wind is hard! It totally messes with my concept of correct rhythm.

  11. I'm not going to lie. I think the scoring was kind of hard in a few places for First Level, when I just look at her body. At a dressage show, those lengthenings would be solidly a 6.5-7.5 range (okay. not the first one where she almost canters, but the second.). However, her fuss in the contact would get you knocked down a few points overall on everything. Which sucks. She's not usually that ... opinionated... when you get her working. Must've been the wind?

    Overall, you guys look pretty damn good. Just looks like maybe you didn't have a half halt. I dunno if that's rider error or horse tune-out, but a few more half halts could've upped your score and improved your corners/transitions. I'm going to disagree with the judge on the last canter-trot transition. She looks lovely and free with her shoulder, not stuck on her forehand. Honestly, just looks like her change of bend and downward conflicted so she didn't step through with her right hind, making it appear on the forehand more than it otherwise would've been. In fact, now that I watch it, that whole change of bend takes until C for her to really settle into. NBD. That's a tougher move than it seems to keep fluid.

    Okay. I'm stopping before I write a longer novel. I think you guys look great, and I am so excited to get out to a dressage show with you this year and point at you and say "look at my friends, they are the BEST!" :)

  12. Just come take a couple of weeks to vacation in Oklahoma, and your horse will be windproof! 30 mph winds are basically every day here. :P

  13. Wind was the theme this weekend across the world, I think. You rode tactfully, and that counts!

  14. I love watching Izy trot trot trot :)

  15. She looks awesome - and kudos for doing those tests in the crazy wind!

  16. Even if it wasn't the best day, you guys look great! When is the rated show? I'm very eager to hear how that goes :)

  17. You guys are always doing so much, I love checking in on your blog when I've been away from blogger for a while, though I do feel as though I have missed a lot of fun stuff!
    Well done on your 8's - that is fabulous. I definitely would have gone for one 8 over two 6's, which might have happened had you not been prepared for the turn up centre line early.

    Very interesting to note that I have never seen a judge mark down in training level tests for being on the forehand- in New Zealand. That comment really surprised me! I thought collection and subsequent increased weight to the back of the horse wouldn't really be a big deal until further on. It comes naturally as you start to work up the levels. At least, that's what I always thought!

  18. "halt, salute, collapse in exhaustion" I know that feeling all too well haha! :D Well done, she looks amazing in the photos!

  19. Iz looks like an awesome unicorn in the canter pic following the first test scoresheet.
    Congrats on a good day out despite tiredness & challenging weather conditions. My two tried to trample me coming in from the field in windy conditions last week...so unlike them - well unlike Nancy lolz; K is a law unto herself


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