Saturday, June 5, 2010

Webb Dressage

Kiki is AWESOME. Today we went to Webb Ranch for the little low key CDS Dressage Show to do some low level Training Level tests. I was a bit worried because she was SO GOOD at Woodside last week, and it was a big, big ask for a young horse to go out a second weekend in a row and perform. The entire point of this outing was to make a good experience in the dressage ring for her, but I don't think I've ever been more stressed out about trying to make a show low key!

Kiki showed up to the show in a good frame of mind and settled in well, but she was definitely a bit tense when I got on for the first test. I was really pleased, then, when she actually got more and more relaxed as we went, where it's sooo easy for her and I to get into a negative spiral of nagging at each other and getting tenser.

(A quiet moment in the warmup... Good girl!)

(About to head in the ring and enjoying a moment of calm)

(Coach Rachel gives us some last-minute advice)

We headed over to the ring, which at Webb is a bit spooky and electric because it is somewhat away from the other horses and surrounded by trees and other Webb Ranch detritus (Webb Ranch = hilariously ghetto), but Kiki handled it very well.

It was a bit of a shame because at one point as we were trotting around a horse got loose from the trailer area and came ripping right past the arena at a dead gallop with people shouting and yelling running after him. Kiki handled it pretty well but her eyes were definitely up on stalks!! She recovered moderately but was a bit more on the muscle than I would have hoped when the bell rang.

(Recovering nicely from "Piper's" escape - we know his name because that's what everyone was shouting as they chased him around!)

In the ring she was a bit tense and fussy, but overall quite good. We ended up with a 60.5% percent at Training 1, which wasn't too shabby given everything! The judge wrote some really positive comments, and best of all: 7 on Rider!! At last =)

(Good girl!)

After our test Kiki went back to the trailer to hang out for a little while before going back to do Training Test 2. This is where I was really proud of her, because she got back to the trailer, tied quietly and munched hay, drank half a bucket of water, and was in general happy as a clam. What a good little show pony she's becoming! After a half hour or so, we tacked back up and headed out for another little 15 minute spin around the warmup before our next test.

(Looking super fancy!!)

And man, I was so proud of her! She came back calmer and more relaxed than the time before, handled the warmup like a champ, and trotted around the ring like she owned it. She was MUCH steadier all around, and her canter-work, while still her weakness, was the best we've done together yet.

(We're getting there, little girl... Maybe it would be easier if your rider could actually sit up!)

(Trying SO hard!)

So, basically she's a rock star. I think the day ended up being a really good experience for both of us, and helped us both get just that bit more comfortable and confident in the ring. The icing on the cake was winning our second class with a very respectable 64.5% - our best score yet together!! She got only one 5 (left lead canter depart right in front of the judge!) and many 7s, including on her medium and free walk, most of her trot work, her right lead canter circle, her gaits and impulsion, and rider again. The judge's comments were really kind, reading, "Horse shows good basics. ... Keep up the forward, free riding." I definitely felt a glow of pride when I read that! Kiki is definitely a difficult horse for me, and I can't describe how good it feels to really be getting a better connection and level of trust with her.

(Good girl, Super Star!!)

The best part was that Kiki won a bucket full of carrots and candy for her win - talk about sweet prizes! Kiki will have a light last week in California as we get prepped for the big trip East in 8 (!!) days.


Denali's Mom said...

Congrats!! Beautiful pictures too!

Katherine Erickson said...

thanks! I'm so proud of her =)

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