Wednesday, December 2, 2015

11/29 Schooling Dressage Show

The end of my vacation was highlighted by a schooling show!

Pretend this is blue ribbon times 3, because we won all our classes!
I wasn't able to stay until the last two classes pinned though (the classes were open all day).
I didn't go alone to this show- Trainer and 3 other students brought horses. I think I was the only one who braided (which is complete overkill for this show- people were showing in brightly colored sweatshirts, non light colored breeches, and maybe 2-3 people wore coats). I also had extra time Sunday morning and I'm teaching Penn's mane to go to the right, so I figured I'd take any chance I can get to tie it up on the right side of his neck. I can also braid his mane in about 25 min and take them out in about 5 min due to the obscene amount of braiding practice I got working for Trainer in the summer/fall.

I dropped the ball and didn't take any pictures with my phone from the prep phases. What the hell!

You know how I decided that Penn was going to get over his clipper phobia asap? You know how you school at home with all kinds of distractions because anything can happen at a horse show? My first test is why we do all that prep at home. The barn that hosts the show is a large hunter jumper barn and just because they're holding a show doesn't mean the barn stops it's regular activities. Boarders find other rings to ride in, lessons are taught, and the staff keeps working like a normal day. This past Sunday included clipping horses.

A little background info about the host barn: It is a HUGE 75,000+ square foot facility with two indoor rings, 200 stalls, 3 outdoor rings and a polo field. The whole indoor arena/warm up arena/boarder stalls/show stalls/lounge/everything you could ever want in a barn is under a massive steel truss building (you know, the ones with the huge steel arches that stick out into the arena). There are two indoors- the main one that we show in, and a smaller (yet still large enough to hold a 20x60m ring) warm up arena. Boarder stalls and an aisle run down both longsides of the main indoor arena (cross section: building wall, stalls, aisle, wall, show ring, wall, aisle, stalls, building wall). The aisles and stalls have a ceiling, and the hay is kept above. They hay the horses by dropping flakes from the loft. The warm up ring is a large sectioned off part of the building that has, what I assume are, temporary stalls set up in a permanent manner. I can't believe they take down over 100 stalls after every show- not when they host a show or two every month. The show stabling and warm up ring mirrors the set up of the main indoor and boarder stabling, minus the loft (cross section: building wall, stalls, aisle, stalls, warm up, stalls, aisle, stalls, building wall). The sawdust pile is on the warm up ring side of the wall that separates the warm up from the main ring. It's a pretty neat place.

How is all this relevant? Well, normal barn functions on Sunday included running clippers on the other side of the show ring wall next to the letter F. Remember when I turned on the clippers at home and Penn left the barn? I am super glad I made him get over his clipper phobia. He heard those suckers click on right when I started my first test and was like, "Holy shit, it's the clippers!!!" but I was able to tell him to stuff it for the most part and have a semi-good test.


And the papers...


For a 63.478%. I tied with one of the other riders in my group, but I had better collectives than she did, so I won! It was a big class too, 12 riders, including my trainer! She was riding one of her new sensitive baby horses (she was 3rd, wahoo, top three for us!)

Training 2:



And the papers...


For a 69.038%. I won by 5.2%! It was another big class too, 11 riders. And super thrilled about an 8 for rider marks. I've never scored higher than a 6 or 6.5.

Training 3:



And the papers...


For a 68.182%. I won by 3.9%. It was a smaller class, just 7 riders. I botched the last canter to trot... I never prepped him for a downward transition and blew past C. Also, shallow loops in a wider than 20m,  small sized dressage arena? Not cool.

I LOVED this stretchy trot from T3. A bit on the forehand, but he was so willing.
Training 2 and 3 were very nice to ride. Penn was very attentive to me, and rideable through the moments where he was a bit spooky. He let me have a good think about each movement and I was able to properly implement my plan in most of them. I never felt like the tests were just zipping by, like I was being rushed to finish them. In all our years together, I achieved this feeling with Mikey twice. It was back in 2014 when I got my Second level scores. Everything simply fell together and we were in harmony. I didn't have to actively fix anything, just remind, so I could actively think about my plan on how to ride each movement to it's fullest. Training 2 and 3 on Sunday were that way with Penn. He let me ride the plan. That's no dig at Mikey- dressage was tough for him. Penn's talent for it is a constant reminder of how hard Mikey worked for me.

Like, I really loved this stretchy trot.
The too wide ring was made abundantly clear to me and Trainer in Training 3's one loop in trot. We're already riding in a small dressage ring, and to top it off, it's 14ft wider than it should be (I looked it up- it's 80' wide... compared to 66'=20m). That means if you ride a proper shallow loop, you're not going to make it to X. If you ride the arena instead of the proper loop, you're so angular that the movement looks wrong and rides terribly. Ack. Of course that messes up the circles as well. Ride a true 20m circle, or ride the arena and make sure you hit the 4 points of your circle as laid out by your letters? Beggars can't be choosers though- this farm hosts a 6 show winter dressage series that lets you ride 3 classes and have an overnight stall for only $90. Can't beat that. The local-to-me series is $100 for two classes and a day stall.

Trainer had no real complaints for me - just that Penn needs more strength and time is what's going to build that. She also said he needs 2.5 tests - he's distracted a bit in the first but gets better as he goes, is great for the second, and gets tired by the third.

All in all, my barn had a great day. They don't divide the classes into Open and AA/Jr at this show series, everyone who is riding gets lumped together by test. One of our riders won Intro A, was 2nd in Intro B. I won all of Training Level (and had the high score of the day, but boo, there's no ribbon for that!). One of the other riders was 3rd in BN B and 2nd in Training 1. Trainer was 3rd in Training 1 and 3, 2nd in Training 2. Another of our riders was 1st in Novice B and Training A, and 2nd in Novice A. We did no worse than 3rd in any class! Not too shabby for 13 tests in a wait-listed show!

"Hi Mom! Whacha doing?"

19 comments:

  1. He improved so much after that first test. I am so impressed with you and him already. He sure does love a stretchy trot circle!

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    1. The change was huge after the first test. In those stretchy circles, he's like "OMG thank you, I want to stretch now!!!"

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  2. He looks like he's come so far since your last show. What a good boy - and a great ride on your part!

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  3. wow congrats!! he looks wonderful! i love your descriptions of what it feels like to really think through every movement rather than feeling rushed. and also, wow that facility is gorgeous - i think i want to live there lol

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    1. That feeling is how I base my tests- if I have that feeling, I know we're putting down some good marks! The facility is huge and very pretty. It has a 3 story lounge area, so maybe one of those floors is an apartment and you could live there, haha!

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  4. Congrats!! What a great opportunity to get out and ride.

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    1. Thank you! I do like this venue. I wish they'd do summer shows too, but oh well!

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  5. You guys look amazing!! Congrats! And nice scores! I love that feeling of peace/harmony in the dressage court, where everything feels super doable and not rushed. I haven't felt that in a long while...

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  6. He looks like he is so much more relaxed and swinging better through his back! How awkward to rid eon a court that isn't sized correctly. First of all. it is nearly unheard of here in the southern half of California to even ride in a short court. I can't imagine riding some of the loops (trot at Training Level and canter loop at First) in a court that is short AND wide. Holy cow! That's hard.

    Good job!!!

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    1. Thank you!!

      The place closer to me that holds schooling shows uses the short court for Intro Level and the eventing tests (since you don't get a standard court in eventing until you either go to an FEI event, or do a regular horse trial at Prelim or Intermediate I think). I think this show uses the small court for Training Level and below to save time- they have 90-100 rides to get through each show (it regularly runs 8am-6:30pm) and the shows usually have a waitlist. Small arena means more riders can come ride. I do wish they'd work out the too wide arena bit- they just put poles down so... please measure?!? But oh well, all it means is I can write off any geometry errors!

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    2. They do use the standard court for First and above. The two schooling show series I go to are the only ones I know that use the small court (besides events)- all the recognized USDF shows use the standard arena.

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