Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stage Fright

"If I show my 4 year old neon green horse training level, and he behaves like he is 4 - I will get a crappy score."  From one of my favorite bloggers, The Dressage Curmudgeon, in a recent post. So, so true, and exactly what happened to Ben and I this weekend.

Now, don't get me wrong. The whole show wasn't a bust. In fact, it was a really great experience, and we had quite a few accomplishments to account for. So, lets go through those first.

+1 for loading well both at home to go to the show, and to go home from the show.
+1 for not freaking out upon arrival at the show grounds
+1 for dealing with immediately being tacked up and going to the warm up without time to soak it all in
+1 for being pretty chill throughout the entire day
+1 for having decent warm ups, despite the crazy busy arena
+1 for having generally clean tests- no bells rang, and the rider stayed on. 

Oh shoot - have I remembered my test? LOL Love the look on my face!

And now, lets review the opportunities...

-1 refusing to bend left
-1 growing roots when scared, and having that carry on throughout the entire test, no amount of urging via leg nor whip effective at all.
-1 once scared, spooking at random shit like dirt hitting the dressage rails, and making ourselves scared all over again, and then avoiding being close to the rail all together.
-1 for being an ass during the second warm up before our second test. Apparently he does not like having a break in between tests.

See? Not so bad - more plusses than minuses. Ben's biggest thing was that the scary corner with the loud gravel was, well, scary. When he gets scared, he starts grinding on his bit, and gets very sticky - which means irregular, gaity- gaits and a lot of work on the part of his rider to keep him going. When he's sticky he's also on the forhand and not straight so we also resemble more of a fish swimming upstream than a horse going down the centerline.

We had 1 score of 4, and that was when he broke his canter and we could not show our down transition from canter to trot. Otherwise we were in a sea of 5 - 6.5's.  Not bad, not good- just right down the middle. I can't recall the exact scores - but I think they were 57.6% and 58. something% Not terrible, not great but not good enough for ribbons - I think we were 7th both times, and there were 8 or so in the classes.

Am I disappointed? In a way, yes, because I thought we had had some good breakthroughs over the past month and I was hoping that would have improved our scores. Then again, I have to remember, this year was not about getting great scores. This year was about getting our feet wet. And so far, so good.

Speaking of wet feet...on Friday we leave for a beach trip.

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