Tuesday, March 7, 2017

undefeated champion of the world

Valegro's lucky he's retired. Just sayin. Bc Charlie is on a goddamn roll. He is KILLIN IT at intro level dressage. I'm not sayin he's been selected for the next Olympics or anything..... but he's probably a guaranteed in on the short list. Obvs.

pictured: the look of a champion
Ahem. Cough cough.

**Clears throat {and hubris} loudly**

lucky number 4?
All kidding aside tho, the horse did super well for our second competitive outing. We entered Intro B twice in OF's Long Johns Dressage Schooling Show, and unlike our first outing, I had hoped to actually make Charlie's performance count.

i still haven't figured out how to wait until the horse is immobile before i salute...
I mean, obviously it's all relative still... And the horse isn't particularly... broke haha. But unlike his first dressage show where it was all about the experience, I wanted Charlie to be able to get into the show ring and get to work without distraction.

trotting left!
I'm not totally sure we accomplished that perfectly - the guy has a strong draw to the gate still, and for whatever reason, as soon as that bell rang he was forging like a maniac, ugh. But he was good. For our current level of training, I felt like it was a good representation of what we can do.

i swear the horse isn't actually built downhill. he just... goes that way. for now.
The judge got a good read on us actually, too. Lots of great feedback from both tests. With the forging, especially in the first test, she pointed out that it's an obvious indicator that the horse isn't connected. Which... I know... But she still took me to task for not doing something about it.

free walk: not shown. got a 4 on this movement lol. bingo??
She also commented that, re: our 'forward,' if the speed limit was 55mph, I was doing about 56 or 57. In other words, she wanted me to tone it down a tad. Be a little more responsible. Get him into the outside rein. Help him get off his forehand more.

there's charlie's patented nose-in-the-dirt walk!
The judge also noted that the horse has a very lovely and free walk (despite botching our first free walk with some jog steps, oops), but that his trot is very earthbound. Obvi she didn't see his canter bc we were only doing Intro B, but that would have probably only reaffirmed her conviction that his trot is by far his weakest gait.

trotting right!
And of course she saw that he's a bit hard to steer. Especially for those center line turns. Which, in fairness, we really haven't schooled - and they're a surprisingly complicated movement for a green broke horse. Esp with this horse, turning right, away from the gate. Ahem.

pictured: forging lol
All told tho, her feedback from the first test (which netted us a 61.8% for 4th place) was constructive enough that we could get back in the ring, take better control of our tempo (and therefore balance) and lay down a nicer test for a 65% to take 1st place. Yay Charlie!

so many pets for a good boy!
Opportunities for improvement in the 2nd test kinda surprised me (in a not-so-great way): accuracy. Usually that's my saving grace bc I'm nothing if not accurate. But I knew what she meant tho... Charlie doesn't really reliably flex super well right now, and there were a couple times that I asked him to supple inside ahead of our circles and he... kinda just pulled in instead of bending lol. Oops.

really he was a star!
It didn't really help that the ring was set as a large court, and I've honestly never ridden a test in a large court before. So my circles ended up slightly anemic - judge told me to fill them out more. And she made a great point: esp at Intro level, there are so few scores that I really can't afford to give up easy points bc I cut my turn a little too early.

snax at the trailer
Beyond the movements themselves, the judge had good feedback for the horse too. She pegged Charlie as super green, and kinda hard to steer lol. But she said he was on track as far as contact and connection go.


She encouraged me to think more about compressing his stride (which is something I've worked on with dressage trainer C, but have admittedly not practiced bc that shit is hard, yo), but generally felt he was "well presented" for his current level of training.

moar snax! allll the snax!!!!
So I feel pretty good about it. I was especially pleased that the weak spots she identified aligned pretty closely with what my trainers have observed. It's always nice when that happens haha, bc nobody likes surprises at shows lol.

The 'compression' thing will be hard work.... but we really do need to address it. Charlie has certainly figured out how to get long in his body, but he's not really gotten the hang of adjusting his longitudinal balance. #needswork

ribbons!!!!
While superficially it doesn't appear much different from Charlie's first go at a dressage show riding this test, it honestly feels a lot different. Plus, as anticipated, the showing atmosphere and environment at OF was a non-factor. Mostly bc we are there legitimately every week so he's pretty familiar with the grounds at this point.... but it was still helpful lol.

Anyway tho. Intro B appears to be the test of choice for most of the lowest-of-the-low divisions around here, so it's good for us to get this practice and feedback. Especially the judge's thoughts on where I need to be more responsible for not leaving points behind unnecessarily on the table. So I'm feeling good about taking this test on the road!!

Do you all like to ride the same test again and again? Or do you prefer to switch it up? With Izzy I kinda liked riding all the tests bc she always loved a challenge and it kept her thinking. But with Charlie I'm kinda enjoying working on just this one thing at a time. Of course... all bets are off once we're ready to canter in a test haha....

54 comments:

  1. Congratulations on such a great show! It's wonderful when you get the same as you get at home. Can I be your groom when you go to the Olympics?

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    1. Ha yes plz! I need all the help I can get with Charlie's mane after being spoiled by Isabel's natural coif all those years ;)

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  2. Hell yes for getting out there, doing the thing, getting great feedback, and marching forward with knowledge. He looks so much better than last fall already; progress is very visible - great work molding him!

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    1. Aw thanks! That's reassuring that he does actually look better bc often I feel like he kinda still looks a mess. The difference in how he feels tho is pretty huge. Still lots and lots of work to do haha. But it's happening!

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  3. Big horses are so fun, but so hard to get packaged up. BUT RIBBONS MOFO!!! Charlie is basically a gold medalist at intro. Next stop: WEG?

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    1. Ha I may or may not parade Charlie around his hj barn referring to him as my champion dressage horse lol. YAS WEG lol!!

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  4. Congrats on a blue ribbon but more importantly another great, relaxed outing for the big guy! Thank you for all your editing work on the video. Being new, having the info on what the movement is and how it scored is really, really helpful

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    1. Glad you found the editing useful! I like to do it bc it can be hard to scroll between the test sheet and video to see what the judge's comments really mean - and it also makes the videos marginally better than watching paint dry for my friends or family members who aren't particularly dressage-y (or horsey for that matter)

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  5. yay charlie and emma! Great job! (and looks like you had a good day (at least sunny!) for it. I prefer to ride the same test if possible throughout the season as we can improve upon it (as much as we can LOL). We did Intro B for a LONG time :) Now that we were are in Intro division rather than elem, we have the dreaded canter (BN A) in there but i still have been doing the same one all last year and planning this year. At least i know it by now :) One less hurdle. Charlie looks great and I would kill to have that steady a horse (and he is green)! I have the energizer bunny who is either flying around the ring at mach 7 or shying at shadows OR dead to my leg (WTF Horse pick a flavor) :) Kudos to you!!

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    1. Ha yup it looks like we will be riding intro B forever this year too. And I definitely have ridden BN A so many times too omg. We will probably skip right to that test once Charlie is ready to canter in a test tho bc I suspect the half canter circles of intro C would actually be kinda tricky for Charlie....

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  6. You guys did awesome!!! Such a good boy!!

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    1. Thanks you and Bella were great too!

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    1. I need to make him one of those giant wrestling belts, methinks lol :D

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  8. Hooray!! Now I feel pressure to get Comma back in the ring so she can challenge Charlie for Intro Champion of the World πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ haha. What an awesome outing though. I like the idea of riding the same test twice with a chance to review feedback in between so you can make fairly immediate corrections! So cool!

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    1. lolol yesssss!! Cinna's gotta show Charlie what the true meaning of 'fancy' is bc homeboy doesn't have a clue lol. and yea this judge did a nice job with feedback. some seem to talk your ear off after finishing the test and it's just like 'uh huh, yea, ok, whatever, can i go now?' - whereas this judge maybe only spent about a minute and a half debriefing with me after my final salute - but it was time very well spent in telling me what she wanted to see improved for better scores.

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    2. So although you clearly deciphered my comment, my phone has started autocorrecting Cinna to Comma after correctly typing it for like 2 years, so that's fun and annoying haha. She's been less fancy lately and more angry bit-chomping giraffe, so we'll see if that's just a phase we're going through πŸ˜‹

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    3. aww poor Cinna. life is hard sometimes for the greenbeans! i'm sure it's just a phase tho. charlie started off under the saddle with a pretty extreme mouth gaping issue but that's seemed to resolve itself with time

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  9. I was eagerly waiting for this recap- glad to hear it was a very educational outing for both you and the big boy! Now, it's onwards and upwards (:

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    1. thanks! he was such a very good boy!

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  10. Good for you taking what you learned from test 1 and turning it into first place! BTW, really like the black on black with touch of maroon outfit.

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    1. ha thanks! i'm still playing with half pad configurations - in this current set up he's just got my black shimmable prolite half pad instead of the combination prolite + sheepskin. i'm not sure this is the right answer tho bc i think the saddle is sitting a little down on him and contributing to the heaviness and lack of freedom in his front end. we'll see. i like the look of it too tho lol!

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  11. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!! He really does look SO improved - the good moments are getting more and more frequent! Well done!! I prefer to ride the same test.. easier to just memorize one and that way I have a good idea of what we need to improve, and if we are improving at all!

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    1. thanks - i'm just so pleased with him. he's naturally going to a looser way of moving kinda on his own, tho there's still a lot of work to do in connecting him front to back. and agreed on using just the one test to get a better metric for how we are progressing!

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  12. steering an ex racehorse is a really underrated problem. ah I miss the days I spent crashing into the indoor wall last winter. the good days.

    it's good that he has a good walk and canter. you can fix the trot. the walk is the golden gait tho (pun hahah)

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    1. ha yea steering is hard, yo. and agreed on liking his solid walk and canter. the trot is already showing improvement in just the last few months, and once he learns how to lift his shoulders and get off his forehand a little i think we'll be in pretty darn good shape with the trot. it ain't anything fancy but it'll do!

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  13. Go Charlie! :) Sounds like things are coming along nicely. Next stop - Olympics.

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    1. ha definitely!!! they have walk-trot tests in the olympics, right??? lol ;)

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  14. I feel like with the green horses, it's important to take things one step at a time and reward quickly for the right answer. I love how thoughtful you always are with your exercises and expectations.

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    1. thanks! and i agree completely about taking things one step at a time. a show like this one really isn't the end goal at all - the whole point of this type of experience is to help teach charlie what it means to be a show horse. and while yes i did want to focus on his performance in the test today - it wasn't so much about 'how well can you ride a 20m circle in trot?', but instead it's about 'how well can you demonstrate your current level of training in a new and higher pressure atmosphere?'

      eventually i'll want the horse to be able to always demonstrate his full current level of training no matter where we are or what's going on around us. *that's* the end goal here!

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  15. "Me Chuckles and me trot." "Me Chuckles and me trot." "Me Chuckles and me... crap I forgot, what I do? Oh right I trot."

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    1. "i is so good at trotting wow look at me trot we r the best trotters"

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  16. Yay for bringing home some ribbons and getting some great feedback! I love being able to do the same test a couple of times and really work on improving for the second time. You guys are totally killing it!!

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    1. thanks - and definitely agreed that it's way better to be able to ride the same test twice in a row. unfortunately when we go to actual shows we'll kinda have to make do with just riding it once and making it count... hopefully we can do that tho!

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  17. Congrats! He's coming along, one step at a time. Also, I need to start putting directives and scores and comments on my test videos... that just seems like a lot of work, haha!

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    1. ha it's honestly not that much work - and i find that it really helps me better understand what the judge was seeing (plus it makes it more viewer friendly for others to watch, imo)

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  18. That is a fantastic outing! (this comment brought to you by Coffee, Not Enough)

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  19. Yay, good job Charlie! You guys are moving right along :)

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  20. YAY!! Congrats on another outing wherein you showed the world that Charlie is the bestest at all the things. :)

    But really, congrats, you're doing such a great job with him!

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    1. thank you! so far he's making it pretty darn easy lol - gotta love that!!

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  21. The joys of teaching a large green horse to compress.... not lol. I just reviewed one of the bingo cards and when you said you scored a 4 on the movement I lol'd with you. Yay outings, yay exposure, yay progress. yay yay.

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    1. haha yea there were a few bingo card squares checked off among our group this weekend! lol ;)

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  22. Congrats on a fantastic outing! Look out Valegro, here comes Charlie! :)

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    1. thanks!!! and they totally have walk-trot grand prix tests, right???? lol

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  23. I thought that looked improved! He just looks like such a good fellow. That is a lot of horse to ride and will be a lot of horse to compress, so you have fun with that! He sure looks good in that bridle too!

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    1. he really is so good - but yea the compression is gonna be a serious sticking point i think. hopefully it'll click tho once he gets the hang of rocking back a little more. hopefully. lol

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  24. Grats on the ribbons. Sounds like a good show for helpful comments. I'm super jealous of everyone out showing.

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    1. yea we're lucky to already be kicking off the season! i'm just so happy to be back at it after what a bust last year turned into...

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  25. Yay Charlie! Such a superstar :)

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  26. For a green bean, he sure is making great progress. Congrats to you on the accomplishments!

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  27. Good job pony! Nice start to the show season

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  28. Yay Charlie! I think focusing on one test at a time is a good strategy

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