I was a bit crazy, and signed up for a schooling dressage show the day after Cherrylane Horse Trials. My moms horse Ronnie is getting ready to start her show season at the end of June, and we are stepping up to Training level in dressage. Last year we hung out in Walk Trot because her canter was just not there. The transitions were awful and messy and her canter unbalanced and unreliable, but we have punched out our Walk Trot card and now it's time to step into the ring like a real dressage horse and do some canter work.
There was a schooling show pretty close to us, and the farm owner is someone I really like and the farm is beautiful, plus I figured it would be a relaxed atmosphere to get out for the first time this year. She hasn't really gone anywhere since her last show of last year. Although she is amazing once you are on her, she can get a bit "up" off property when you first get off the trailer. I figured this would be a good first outing to see where we are at with her attitude at the show and in the ring, now that we are incorporating the canter work.
While her canter work has become quite nice, in the ring her nappiness can sometimes rear its ugly head. She hasn't been nappy at all lately, but at a show and under pressure is another story. The morning started off with a downpour (surprise, surprise). The show manager messaged us all on Facebook to say the show would be delayed an hour. Woot! I needed that extra hour sleep big time after travelling 4 hours home the night before after our event. My mom, bless her, had lunged Ronnie, cleaned her tack and packed the trailer while I was away eventing. My ride time was pushed to 11:30, so we had a lot of time to turn her out for the morning, then bring her in, braid, and extra time to get on the trailer. The trailer is another place her nappiness can come out. Although she did fuss a bit she was on in about ten minutes.
|hiding from the rain, Ronnie loved the view!|
The show was only 30 minutes from us. It rained the entire drive over but cleared once we arrived. Ronnie was relaxed and I took her for a walk around the property to check things out. She was totally chill and afterwards stood tied to the trailer relatively quietly while I got ready and tacked up. We headed to the warm up with around 30 minutes until our ride. Ronnie was very relaxed and felt amazing in the warm up. Supple, and in front of leg, we did about 20 minutes of stretch work and ten minutes of walk and more engaged work and then waited for our turn. Unfortunately the show was running an additional 30 minutes or so behind the already hour delay, so we ended up standing around waiting for quite some time.
We stood in the warm up and chatted with other riders, another ten minutes passed and then we were advised the judge would be taking a 10 minute break. I wasn't sure whether to get off or stay on, but thinking just ten more minutes I stayed on. 10 minutes turned into 20 minutes, then finally we started. There were 3 riders before me, and then when I was finally called in I went around the outside of the ring at least 10 times before the bell was rung. I gave up and just walked her on a long rein until the bell came because I could feel poor Ronnie was getting pretty tired.
We did CADORA Training Level Test A, and she was everything I could hope for. She gave me everything she could, with little bobbles here and there but overall I was absolutely thrilled with her first Training Level test. One rider scratched and so there were only two rides before my next test. Again it took a good 10 minutes for the judge to ring the bell as I went around the ring before our test started. It was CADORA Training Level Test B, and it started out really well. I was enjoying myself and then we went to our canter and she picked up the wrong lead and gave a little sass. We recovered and when we went to canter on the opposite rein she became nappy and a bit gate sour and bucked and showed me how displeased she was with how long I had been on her back. I just took a second to regather ourselves, and she carried on nicely albeit a bit tense to end the test.
I decided to scratch her final test as she was just exhausted by this point. I had been on her back for almost 2 hours and I didn't want to leave her with a bad taste in her mouth about showing. I took her to the warm up and asked her for a canter transition a few times to show her she needs to respond to the aid appropriately, and she obliged and was quite lovely in the canter then. I hopped off and we headed back to the trailer to wait for scores, have some treats, and pack up.
Unfortunately they scored my first test wrong as I realized in the truck on the way home when I was double checking the scores. They had us in second with a 73% but we were actually a 75.9% to win the class. Our second test scored just over 68%. I was thrilled with both scores and the second test was still quite good considering we flubbed a good 3 or 4 movements. This gave us division champion but because of the error on the first test scoring we didn't get our correct ribbons and thus, no satin ho pictures. Not to worry though, we were really going for the experience and to see where were at in the ring.
We couldn't have been happier with her attitude and performance on the day. She really does have the best temperament even if shades of sass slip out here and there, keeping me on my toes!