Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Judge Was Nice

  Penny and I headed to another dressage schooling show on Sunday.  Our ride times were not until 4:06pm and 4:38 pm so it was sort of a weird day.  I slept in (for a horse owner) and brought the horses in for the day.  I washed Pennys socks and braided her.  She is being fussy lately in her stall, I think because the weather is cooling off and they are still on night turn out.  I think they are ready to be switched back but I want to make sure the bugs are gone for the year before I do so.  They are currently sectioned off their one paddock for rotation and it's their favourite.  Penny stares out her window - dreaming of grazing there I just know it.

  After I braided her I cleaned my tack and packed the trailer.  I just chilled around the barn all day cleaning up the tack room and what not....watching the clock till quarter to two which was when I had to leave to pick up Morgan and her horse Jax who is boarded at my moms place.  It is strange waiting so long to show.  You can't really do much since you are still having to go to a show but I can't exactly sit around and do nothing all day.  I'm not a good rester.

 When it was almost two we were finally on the road to the show.  Ponies arrived and settled nicely.  We tacked up pretty much right away and went to the warm up.  Penny was really relaxed and warmed up well.  I took 5 minutes to look at my test as I had not even looked at it once before this day...oops.  We were doing First Level Test B and C.  My first test to ride was First Level B, and for some reason the CADORA tests are mandatory sit trot.  Even the Equine Canada tests do not make you sit trot - but whatever.  Penny has a bouncy trot and it obviously breeds tension when I try to sit it.  I suck at sitting trot in my hunter saddle...more practice needed. Regardless it was our turn to dance.

showing a little lengthening

stretchy trot circle

so pretty

I love the shadow in this pic :)

  Penny was more focused this test than the usual.  She was a bit looky but seemed to come back to me better than before.  Our trot is completely unconnected.  We had some nice moments but lots of head up - head down, fussing going on.  Our canter work is really getting there, and the canter moments were great.  The transitions still need lots of work also, but overall the test went much better than last time.  We scored 69.7% in the first test.  Very generous.  After watching all the other riders go and observing they all posted the trot in their tests, I decided I would post in my second test also as it did not seem as though they were penalizing for this.

 Our second test was First Level Test C and I thought this test went really well.  Watching the video I can see we are still very unconnected in the trot, but overall she was very obedient in the test.  She didn't have any meltdowns either and stayed relaxed.  This is a huge step for us!  My only disappointment was my score of 5.5 on my leg yields.  I felt as though they were worth at least a 7 - they were super straight and letter to letter.  The judges comments were "no leg yield shown" - which goes to my next point.  We scored a 72.6% - a personal best for us as a team...again, very generous.

leg yield left

love this outline...

this would be nice - all the time!

 I do think it is great to get good and encouraging scores, the frustrating thing for me is that it still leaves me wondering where I am really at.  Sometimes with schooling shows - the judges have a good eye but aren't all that educated.  For the leg yields for example, straightness is the key - along with all the other requirements.  I think the judge may have been wanting to see a more extreme cross over but when you are in a 20 x 60m ring, and going from K to G - that leg yield has a lonnnnggg way to go.  I have developed a very educated eye in dressage (eye -  not riding ability LOL) from watching so many of my moms lessons and shows.  These things are frustrating because getting a 5.5 on a good leg yield - and getting a 7 on a simple change where we got the wrong lead - leaves me scratching my head.

 My conclusion is that some of these schooling shows, while great for getting Penny into the ring more, and more familiar with dressage - the scoring isn't always going to be a good learning tool.  Maybe a slight confidence boost getting high scores lol  That being said, I have noticed a difference in her and I hope the trend continues in the ring.  I am so glad I have taken a step back from the events to focus on this.

 We placed 4th in Test B and 3rd in Test C, against some good competition so I was thrilled.  Lots more work needed, but I see progress - and that makes me happy.


  1. Like you said, you're making progress with Penny and you're educated enough to know it. When you go out and compete officially next time, you won't be shocked if/when your marks drop!
    From the judges point of view, newly qualified judges have to practise somewhere, maybe you had a newbie on the day? Or an oldie who just does a bit of judging for fun?

  2. I had late ride times Sunday, too. So hard to try to find something to do instead of just leaving hours earlier than I needed to!

  3. It's always great when you see progress but understand it can be frustrating when the judging seems to be very subjective!


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