Sunday, 21 July 2013

Dressage Schooling Show - Success!!

Yesterday morning we headed out to Alhambra for their summer schooling show. They were doing dressage and jumpers yesterday, and hunters and a derby today. I just wanted some mileage in the dressage ring though, so we did 3 tests, eventing training #2, and 2 tests riding the eventing prelim test #2, since that's the one we're doing at the rest of the events this year.

Sunny was SO GOOD!! I knew something was up when I mounted up about an hour before our ride times, and went over for tack check, usually she FREAKS when they go to put a finger in her mouth to check the bit and will NOT stand still. But she just stood there on a loose rein and didn't move a muscle! Kris came out too, I had him armed with water and lots of treats. We did a very minimal warm up, she was being very good, nice and relaxed, so we did about 15 mins, and then we just chilled and I hacked her around a little bit, then I did another 5 or 10 mins right before we headed up to the ring. It was HOT out as well, so I didn't want to tire her out too much.

The training test was first. We ROCKED it! I haven't ridden that test in about a year and a half, but as soon as I started it, I remember why I loved it! Just a great test, lots of time in between all the movements, and it just flows really nice. I was shocked at how nice and relaxed Sunny was throughout the whole test. THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING SO HARD FOR!! I was SO happy!!

Had a few horses in between each of my tests which was nice. Both prelim tests rode really well for the most part. Sunny was so relaxed she was almost a little dull, but compare that to what she's usually like, hot and up and so over reactive to the point of explosion a lot of the time, having a bit dull was really nice!! Our lengthenings were extremely conservative, but she was being so good I wasn't going to kick or goose her and cause a tantrum. Same with our leg yield, she wasn't really crossing over like she usually does, so got some lower marks for those. Had a bit of tenseness in our canter, as you'll see in the videos, but she settled fairly quickly afterwards, so that was definitely an improvement over our bucking fits at Rocky for sure! Lol. But overall SO much better than the
previous events this year!!




Our enter down centerline got 8's on all 3 tests, we had all three halts at the end DEAD SQUARE, and got 8's for those as well! I couldn't believe it when I watched the videos, we literally NEVER have a square halt! Considering at Beaumont we basically did not even HAVE a halt at the end, I was pretty happy! Had a super free walk in 2 of the tests, 8's for that too, and a couple 8 for our trot in there as well! SO HAPPY GUYS OMFG!!!! I'm so glad I thought to bring treats, Sunny got some during our awesome warm up, and after each test as well, I was so thrilled with how good she was being! Our next event is at Alhambra in the same sand ring, so hopefully the positive reinforcement carries over for dressage there too:)

 The judge stopped me to talk after my last test. Said she really like our partnership, that Sunny was lovely (!!!!) and that we work extremely well together. Said I needed to use my half halts more, to better prepare and organize for transitions and they would become smoother and more relaxed. Also suggested to ask stronger and be more concise with the lengthenings, as they were all really conservative in all three tests. I mentioned that I was trying not to rock the boat too much because we are usually quite "exciting" in dressage, but was trying to find a happy medium, and she laughed and said she understood, and to keep working on it:) I was really happy overall with the judge's comments! For once I came away from dressage feeling really good about what we'd done, not upset or embarrassed or relieved to have just gotten it over with, and I was SO happy with Sunny and myself:)

 I picked up my tests as soon as they were ready but didn't stick around for placings or ribbons. That's not what I was there for, and it didn't matter anyways, all I wanted just some good positive rides in the ring. I got 64% on the training test, and 60% and 63% on the prelim tests!! Considering at Beaumont our horrible test was a 44% and Rocky was definitely better but still just a 56%, I was pretty thrilled!!



63% This test would have been super awesome had we not totally blown the simple change to right lead canter:P

 I still see a million things I want to fix with my position. I'm trying to not be *too* critical though because I know I have gotten lots better position wise than I was, say, a year ago, but there is *always* room for improvement!!