Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our very first dressage show!

Okay, up this morning and went to get the pony ready (more grooming, yay!). Thinned his mane some more. Loaded everything up, and went off to the horse show. Turned out to be a nice facility (which...I expected) tucked back off the road a ways. We were one of the first people there though we didn't ride for a while (because we wanted to ensure we got there with plenty of time). Everyone we spoke to was really nice and pleasant and there was no snootiness about our non-fancy horses and tack. ;) (I only point this out because Christina commented on just how nice everyone was. expect people to be nice but these folks were exceptional about it. On top of the "reputation" of dressage folks for being snooty. ;)) I also pointed out the tack thing because I was kicking myself. I have a nice, black Mattes pad I wanted to ride with. I thought about it last night, "don't forget the pad" (because I've kept it put away so it'd stay nice), and this morning, "don't forget the pad". I got halfway to the farm and realized I'd forgotten the pad! So I ended up borrowing a black pad from the barn to put under my half pad but it was faded and dusty and I was grumpy about it. ;)

For intro A, we were the last two riders in our class. Christina went, and then it was my turn. Kieran did get a bit antsy at being left but was overall okay about it (one thing we need to work on is him standing for mounting when away from home. At home? He's great. At shows? He often refuses to stand still, either swinging away from the block or walking in circles around it. Of course, we really need to work on doing stuff away from home (but "working", not just moseying down a trail) period.)

Then it was my turn and hey...we weren't bad! I remembered the test (something I was SO WORRIED I'd get to X, salute, and then think "now what???") and Kieran was generally good. He whinnied (because he was "alone") a couple times, and he did want very badly to go out the open door by A (they didn't have a gate up) but he listened to me about staying in the ring. Anyway, here's what the judge commented for us:

1. (6 points) Energetic, some loss of balance. Haunches left at halt, not quite straight centerline.
2. (5 points) Not to track.
3. (5 points) Accurate transition. Needs more energy.
4. (5 points) Circle not quite round. Losing energy.
5. (6 points) Some drifting from long side.
6. (5 points) needs to go all to long side, loss of line, needs more energy
7. (5 points) obed. haunches to inside.
8. (6 points) Circle not quite round. better energy.
9. (6 points) Fairly straight, needs more energy. Fairly square.


Nice effort! Horse needs more energy in order to keep straight and bended lines.

Score: 52.5%

So.....anyone think we need to work more on being forward? Ahem.

After that was a long wait until the dressage equitation class (which I should not have signed up for, but was interesting). I'm so used to other shows where you kinda have to wait near the ring till it's your turn and finally someone was like, "you know that class isn't scheduled until 12:26, right?" so then I was like, "oh? That's like a half hour! Okay....going back to the trailer for a snack then." When it it came time for the class, there were four of us in there, and during the warm-up bit right before, I knew right away, "okay, those two will be 1st and 2nd...that girl's probably going to be 3rd, and I will be 4th." Which wasn't a big deal to me, just something I noticed. Everyone else in the class (I think) was there doing tests at a higher level than me and Kieran and were just...better schooled than us. So they started at a free walk, then asked for a posting trot, then had us change directions (which they said to change directions on the short diagonal which I'd never heard before...does that just mean cross the ring diagonally [but not a really long diagonal] because that's all everybody seemed to do...). Then the brought me and one girl into the center of the ring and had the other two canter, then trot across the ring and pick up a canter going the other way. Then we switched and they had us do sitting trot before asking for the canter and Kieran (who had been a slug the whole class and dumb me had thought I wouldn't need a whip because he's usually fairly perky in shows) wouldn't pick up a canter quickly and I was just like...."forget it, I don't want to hold up the class and look like an idiot kicking away at my horse," so I just chose to go back to the center of the ring and let the other girl finish. It occurs to me, later, that part of that problem is that while he normally doesn't require so much kicking (anymore) to canter...I usually smooch to him. *face.desk.* So he likely was going, "but the canter aid has a smooch!" Plus being a slug. ;)

After that, I was the first one in the intro B class and this time, I borrowed a dressage whip from the barn. (though that turned out to not be very helpful either, mostly because it's longer than my dressage whip and I just didn't know what to do with the damn thing) Our scores did not improve from the first test and even with a whip in my hand (which is usually enough to get him to perk up a bit) he was still a slug so it was a lot of work to keep him moving. Anyway, here is the results from that test.

1. (5 points) Straight, square halt. Fairly active, some fading from center line.
2. (5 points) needs more energy
3. (4 points) head bent to outside, needs more forward thinking, broke
4. (5 points) nose to outside
5. (4 points) transition early (I think I was thinking the transition was right at C, between C and M)
6. (5 points) needs more stretch and energy
7. (4 points) transition late (because A was by the door and he wanted to go out, not trot forward), drifting from rail, nose to outside, circle large
8. (5 points) fairly active, not quite to K
9. (6 points) very square halt

Further remarks:

Great effort! Work on getting him more forward thinking.

Score: 46% least we have square halts?

We did, also...pretty much fulfill what I set out to do. For me not to forget the test in the middle (either of them). And for Kieran to get over having to ride away from his buddy and alone in a strange ring and still (more or less) do what I ask. Generally, we had a really good time. I think I like this style of show a lot. It's nice to know what time you're supposed to ride (and they were very good about keeping things on schedule), nor did we have to rush this morning to get ready (though I imagine if we come back with a bigger group, that will change). Oh, and there was free food! Which we found out about late in the day. But it was still tasty!

Everybody really liked the horses (I got a lot of comments about how nice Kieran looks). And it looks like we're planning on going back for the next show in three weeks, I want to improve my test scores. ;) A couple other people from the barn want to go too (we were the guinea pigs).

And finally, here are some pictures:




This is from intro A (only time we had a photo-person). And my first halt, with "haunches left".







I think this is actually when we were leaving the ring.



He's not wearing a noseband because when I put it on, I couldn't for the life of me get it to sit right (way too close to the bit and just...awkward, I need to punch holes in it).


kippen64 said...

I absolutely love the photos but must admit to only skimming through the article. My ageing eyes find the white writing on a blue background hard work. It does look good, just hard to read.

Analise said...

kippen, sorry the text doesn't work for you so well! I know it's not ideal for every instance, but you can tell your browser to show a page with colors your choose (or, on firefox you can just do view->page style->no style and it'll show everything as plain black text on a white background if that helps. :)