Sunday, May 23, 2010

Woodside Dressage Wrap Up

Phew! I can't believe how exhausted I am from this weekend. Riding one dressage test a day seems so simple compared to a three day event! But man, I forget that for me, the dressage is a far greater workout than any of the jumping, and also requires more time in the saddle with hour long warmups compared to 30 minute ones.

I couldn't be more pleased with Ringo. He really buckled down and tried hard for me, forgave some of my smaller mistakes, and gently pointed out to me my more glaring ones! I felt a bit bad for him today because he was definitely tired and I, being tired as well, didn't give him the most tactful ride. I also was warming him up on my own, and it showed! The end result was that he got a bit sick of all this collection nonsense right as we were going into the arena and I didn't quite have the tools to perk him back up again for the test, so he was a bit more fussy and resistant than he had been the past few days. While I was overall much less pleased with this test than either of the previous two (it lacked a nice underlying flow and the fussiness meant for resistance in our lateral work, which was a shame), there were definitely moments of improvement. We nailed the medium canters for the first time all week (7s, baby!), though the return to collected canter still has to be much, much more defined. The best improvement of all, though, was in the changes, which we got 7s in both times, as compared to the 4s we'd been getting all weekend!! Yay! So proud of the Prowler.

Overall, though I didn't quite get the scores I'd been hoping for, I really couldn't be much more pleased with how the show went. The weather was tough, the scoring was pretty strict (the high score all weekend for 3rd Level Test 3 was a 65% and the highest Jr/YR score at that level was a 63% - really, a 59% wasn't that far off the mark), and it was my first multi-day dressage show ever. I don't think we embarrassed ourselves, and indeed I think we fit right in as a somewhat green but capable pair for the level. Our judge's comments today were especially nice: "Really elegant pair, capable of very high marks." She then went on to nail Ringo's and my issues EXACTLY, commenting on how I need to get him a little better between my aids to keep him from panicking and running.

SO, the plan for the next show is to come back at 3-3 and try to break that magic 60% barrier with Rachel's help =). Then, when I go home for the summer (where I might not have a trainer or at least one who can go to shows with me), I'm going to drop back to 1st and 2nd level for a few shows to try to get the scores for my Bronze Medal. How sweet would that be?? Underlying all that, I'm going to be working on a 3rd level Freestyle =). Excited!

My goals for next time:
-NO MAJOR MISTAKES - no breaks, biffed changes, etc.
-more consistent collected canter
-more relaxed half pass in trot and canter
-better medium/collected transitions
-more relaxed and cadenced rein back
-7 on rider (Someday, if I put this down enough times, it will happen!!)

In the meantime, Ringo will have a lighter week while I focus on Kiki, who's moving up to Novice next weekend (!!!). She's been FABULOUS for the past few days, which of course won't last, but I'm enjoying it while I can =).

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