Weekend Recap

Ms. C, Ike, and me celebrating our debut

I am not even certain where to start to summarize our show last weekend.

My dressage club pulled off our first three-ring show under less than ideal weather conditions thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon. Pretty sure that every member did something to make the show a success, from planning the show, securing sponsors, set up, volunteering at the show, and the least popular tear down. It is always nice to hear the positive feedback from competitors.

And then there was our Fourth Level debut. So many emotions. Is it okay to say that my ride this past Saturday is probably one of my proudest moments as an equestrian? Cantering down centerline on a horse that used to canter like ScoobyDoo was a thrill. Realizing that my plain brown wrapper boy is no longer a green broke baby, but a seasoned show horse was overwhelming. It was all I could do to not cry when my husband wished me luck just before my test.

Ike demonstrating his big boy canter

The entire test flowed quite well. Our two biggest hiccups were the left lead canter transition following the walk pirouette and the right to left flying change. The pirouette to canter just needs more practice. The flying change issue was due to Ike and I “discussing” when the change should happen. Ike was a bit impatient. I asked him to hold his counter canter. The result was a change that was late behind. We deserved that score of 4.0.

The high points were that we earned 6.0 or 6.5 on our pirouettes, nailed our tempi changes on the diagonal, and scored solidly on our trot work. When it was all said and done, we pulled a 61.6% for our debut. Say what?!!

I made a game day decision to scratch my Sunday ride and avoid soaking myself, my horse and our tack. And, I just didn’t want to chance an injury in sloppy footing. There will be another day in October to try again.

I cannot thank Cindy enough for her guidance, instruction, and friendship all these years. We would not be the team we are without her. My husband also deserves a medal for his support on this crazy dressage journey. He is the voice of reason when needed, my biggest cheerleader, and the best chauffeur.

Thank you to everyone who has followed our journey thus far. I appreciate the support and kind words more than you know.

Onwards and upwards! Next stop – Silver…

alison

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Breaking Down The Test

Photo by Tara Jelenic Photography

My mind is going more than a mile a minute right now. So many thoughts about this weekend. More thoughts than riding…but I really can’t ask Ike to give me 100% under saddle when the heat index is over a hundred. So he hides in his stall with his fan, and I mentally ride the test while pedaling the exercise bike.

Most of the movements in Fourth Level Test 1 are familiar. It will be the execution of those plus the new requirements that will determine if we can find the elusive 60th percentile.

Trot half pass, circles and shoulder in are all in our repertoire. The test designers are seriously testing your skills by placing shoulder in on centerline right after half pass and a circle. Clever people. If I can maintain control of Ike’s shoulders, we stand a chance at scoring respectably.

Canter half pass, countercanter and single flying changes are also familiar. Let us just hope that I execute my aids appropriately and someone is listening to those aids and he isn’t thinking about all the pretty mares at the show.

Now let’s chat about the “new” stuff. Those clever test writers have put the double coefficients on most of the new movements. Evil.

You start off the test cantering down centerline to a halt. If I do my part and keep Ike from falling on the forehand, we can make a good first impression. Good thing since the next movement is a beast for us.

Medium trot to sixish strides of collected trot back to medium. Hmm, if we get out of that movement with a 5.5 or a 6.0, I will be the happiest girl in the ring.

After the trot tour, we will appreciate the half circle of extended walk. Pray for us that Ike doesn’t decide to poop at this time. We lose that lovely swing in his back while he argues with me to stop and take care of business.

The double coefficient walk pirouettes are next. Hoping we can build on our recent improvement in our turn on the haunches. I am still grinning at the “correctly stepped the turns” comment from the last show.

The canter tour is next. More prayers that someone doesn’t decide he is a freight train. Half halts have no meaning when we are in train mode.

The final movements of this test will be the biggest test of our skills. Cantering a 20 meter circle? No problem. Showing six strides of very collected canter? That could be challenging. As we slow we get a little stiff and I am pretty sure that stiffness is not what the judges want to see.

Next comes the three changes on the long diagonal followed by cantering onto centerline for the final halt. It is that final turn that will be tricky. Imagine hitting the cloverleaf to exit the interstate cruising about 60 mph…

Too bad there is no score given for moves that make the judge giggle. We seem to have a knack for that.

See you on centerline!

alison