Monday, November 9, 2009

Stanford's IDA Debut!

This season has been really exciting for me because for the first time ever, Stanford has fielded a team and started competing in Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) shows - hooray! IDA runs alot like English and Western IHSA, where the emphasis is on catch riding horses that you've never sat on before. Fortunately, IDA takes a much saner line than IHSA, and allows a 10 minute warmup before the test-- with a coach! SWEET.

This weekend we went to Cal Poly for our first ever IDA show, with just 6 riders (compared to Cal Poly, who had over 20): me at First Level, Jaslyn and Fallon at Upper Training, Theo and Kat B at Lower Training, and Michelle at Intro. The team was me, Jaslyn, Theo, and Michelle, with Fallon and Kat riding as individuals. Given that we barely understood what the format was, and that people like Jaslyn had only ridden in a dressage saddle 3 times ever before coming down, our expectations were pretty low. Our mission was "to live."

Looking REALLY PUMPED after our 3am wake up to get to Cal Poly by 7:30

Jaslyn models the (possibly Maoist?) boot polishing kit shortly after our arrival

Well, mission accomplished, and then some! I had to start the day off in First level, the highest level IDA offers. I was really delighted that I got an awesome draw for my first time out, a big fuzzy bear named Dancer who actually had really lovely gaits and who had apparently been trained through 4th level before being donated to Cal Poly. Fallon added the small caveat, though, that she had drawn him for the flat for the IHSA show a few weeks earlier... and he had tried to buck her off. Sweet. Fortunately he seemed to have no inclination for bucking whatsoever on Sunday, and was in fact very steady and lazy. It was awesome to get to warm up, because I really felt like I started clicking with what he needed about 3 minutes in (which in IHSA would have been those crucial "first impressions!"). We went in and laid down a very steady test in a nice outline, with just one rather large blip where he swapped out in his right lead medium canter and then was pretty insistent in not picking the right one back up again. However, he had done the xact same thing in the previous test, so I hoped the judge would be a little forgiving.

Getting to WARM UP! I love this sport haha

Pretty pony!

Ready for domination =)

The extent of my "medium trot" . . . notice the desperate spurring going on haha

Free walk: 9, baby.

The one bobble of the test... me trying, unsuccessfully, to convince my horse that I do NOT want him to swap out in the medium canter. Whoops.

Right lead reestablished

Phew! Fait Accompli!

At the end of the test I was huffing and puffing from trying to get him forward (event horses don't need a lot of leg!!) but very pleased. The judge said to me as I thanked her, "You got to show off your riding on that one" which I took as a compliment... and I think it was as I ended up winning the class by 7.7%! I got a 9 (on my free walk - YES) and four 8s - I was delighted! Stanford Dressage had debuted in style!

The next rider in the ring was Fallon in Upper Training and her first dressage test ever. She also drew well with a horse that reminded us all alot of a chestnut version of her own horse Flash. They had a really good test until a styrofoam cup blew through the arena and basically right between her horses legs, which he (understandably) took serious offense to. The judge was very kind though and let her redo that part of the test without penalty, and she ended up getting a 62% and eventual 3rd place.

Fallon and her chestnut version of Flash =)

Jaslyn was next, in both her first dressage test ever and her third time in a dressage saddle ever. She also lucked out on the draws and got a cute little horse named Pilot that suited her really well; they had a lovely steady test and ended up with a 63% for 2nd place.

Jazzy and Pilot

Kat Blair, our grad student team member (another great IDA rule: grad students are allowed!), was our fearless leader for Lower Training. She got what had really been the only horse in warmup that we didn't want to pull, a little grey western quarter horse that was being warmup ridden by a girl in rowel spurs. Not exactly an ideal dressage mount. Kat rode wonderfully though and really got the best out of him, and they ended up putting in an excellent steady round. With a 59%, they eventually ended up 4th in the biggest division of the show.

Working it on the western horse

Yay!! Kat's first IDA show is a big success!

Theo was our other Lower Training rider, who unfortunately really got the bad draw of the day. Her little Andalusian cross was super cute but really difficult in the bridle, tossing his head up and down and refusing to stay steady even though Theo was riding him as correctly as she could given his antics. She put in an awesome test with the mount she was given, though going off course at the end hurt her score. She ended up with a 56% for 8th place.

Theo's pony looking very cute and innocent against the lovely backdrop of the mountains around San Luis.

Theo produces the best that her horse can do!

Finally, at the end of a very long day (starting for us at 3am to get to Cal Poly in time!), Michelle rounded out the entire show as the last Intro rider. Michelle may have never shown before, but she really knows her stuff and put in an Intro test that could have been lovelier. She ended with a 66% and won her class by a landslide!

Trying not to get blown away while Michelle gets ready for her test.

Michelle rocking it on Sure Lina.

At the end of the day, our team members ended up finishing 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 1st in their respective divisions; in IDA one team score is dropped and only the best three are counted, so we had a pretty unbeatable combo of 1st, 2nd, and 1st! Indeed, we won handily, and Michelle and I got reserve high point and high point rider of the day, respectively. What an awesome way to start!

Stanford goes 1-2-3 in First and Upper Training.

The whole show, plus Michelle's winning Intro mount Sure Lina.

Stanford Dressage!!

Two blues and a high point in one show! Victory is sweeeet.

Unfortunately because the region is so small, the next IDA show isn't until February. I'm kind of hooked and can't wait for the next one!


Albigears said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
j. said...

Oh fun fun, I do look like a hunt seat rider despite the saddle trying to block my hip angle open. TOFU HOUSE CELEBRATION???

Katherine Erickson said...


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