We went to a schooling show a few weeks ago, so I’m a bit late on our recap!
Getting Spot to a few dressage shows this year is a goal on my 2016 Goals list and we were able to make it to one a few weeks ago at UC Davis. I decided to just do Training 1 as it would be Spot and I’s first show together and didn’t want to explode both our brains.
As a generally tense and hotter mare, my toughest challenge is getting Spot to relax and loosen up so she is able to come through her back and be the fancy pony she is. Seriously, the mare can be really fancy when she wants to be so she can’t lie to me anymore about not being able to be fancy. In the weeks prior to the show, during our rides and lessons we really worked on figuring out what was the best way to help Spot and I be more relaxed. I’ve realized that we need a pretty long warm up to get to a sweet “ok time to work” place as well as a 20 minute walk session before we start trotting. After a few laps of trot I bump up into 2- point canter, let her cruise around for a bit, then start adding in my shallow counter canter loops to get her thinking about bending and being soft.
We also worked A LOT on our free and medium walks because Potato Homegirl thinks walking is dumb and for slow
people horses. Spot thinks jigging is the way to go. -_- I worked on this with her by shortening and lengthening my reins during our walk breaks at interments times while being more aware of the walk rhythm in my hips and legs. Our walk work has definitely improved and during our last test run throughs we actually had a decent free walk! Yay for potentially not getting a 3 or 4 on our walk? One could hope.
Since our ride time was early (9:50) we loaded up without any problems (thank god) and got to UCD early so we could have some time to settle and have a decent warm up. She unloaded great, looked around, and then started on her hay net while I went and checked in. So far so good! Our warm up was uneventful even with the warm up ring being right next to the freeway, but in hindsight I should have cantered more so Spot could loosen her back up. Good notes for next time though!
Our test went relatively well! We had a nice straight centerline and halt, but when it came time to trot down towards C Spot spooked hay bale judges booth so I cut the corner short and proceeded on with the test. Our biggest mistakes were picking up the wrong lead on the 20m circle right and break in our canter going down the long side. BUT! We had a pretty honest medium walk and pseudo-free walk!! Success! Spot was definitely tense and off the bit which was reflected in the judge’s comments, but honestly all I was looking for at this show was to get us some practice away from home. We ended up getting a 61%, which surprised me because I thought we did a lot worse, but I’ll take it. Spot and I were able to hold it together and I know we will just get better with more time and experience.
I’m looking forward to the next set of schooling shows I plan on going to! My hope is that we can show T1-T3 and maybe do a small rated show at Training? We’ll see!