|Real geldings win pink!|
Alright, so I wanted to think carefully about what I want to say about this past show. I had a million thoughts running through my head, and I wanted to put them in a pot and let them simmer for a while so I could come to a good, constructive conclusion. A few good rides after doesn't hurt either!
|The sewing machine and I have become friends.|
I sewed some darts into Penn's mesh sleezy because the nose stretched and was way too big for his face.
First off, I did not get the scores I wanted. They were not abysmal, but they are not up to our usual standards. They were the lowest and next to lowest scores I've gotten with him at Training level. Trainer took time out of her super busy Monday to call me after the scores were posted online and ask "What the hell happened?!" It wasn't a good day. This of course makes writing about the show harder.
I've come to the conclusion that it's all my fault: of course it is, I'm the one riding the horse, and my feel is off. I've said that numerous times before. I had some 'eyes on the ground' watch me in the week before the show (not trainer eyes, but eyes that have seen a lot of dressage and have been helpful before), and I don't want to blame those eyes either. But if they saw what my video showed and said it was fine, I'm hella pissed off!
Penn continues to get more spooky the more places we go. Maybe it has something to do with winter, maybe it has something to do with a lack of outside riding, who knows. Maybe it was the judge's heater. He's never had a huge aversion to C (as in, I can't mask it or stop spooks from happening), until the last two shows when the judge had a heater running (complete with red hot coils). He jumps off the rail, won't go into the corners near C, and counterbends and no amount of inside leg will solve it. He is on a mission to go to the inside and get the hell away from the judge. He's looky otherwise, but nothing I can't manage, so I'm going to blame the heater and wait for it to get warm and go away.
|Fiction and Penn|
Next, I've gotten derailed somehow from my last lesson. I will not believe that DT had me ride him as disconnected as I rode him on Sunday. I know my feel is off- my feel for the right amount of throughness. I tend to ride deeper than I should, and DT helped me bring up his poll and get him out of that deep mess so he could use his shoulders. Everything above that deep point feels disconnected to me, so I rely on others for now to check me, and I try to memorize the feeling. My first test was a spooking awful mess. I thought my second test was great, it had a similar feel to what I had in the last week and what my eyes on the ground said was 'enough connection and throughness'. In the third test Penn struggled a little and got tired, so his poll dropped on more than one occasion and I couldn't kick it back up. The scores were very low for us (59.348, 62.885, 63.864), but the more he dropped his poll, the better the score. I was "WTF man!" until I watched the videos. They were abysmal. He needed to drop his poll so he could stretch to the bit.
He had little to no impulsion. He was not connected at all. His nose was poking out, which is fine, except it's not poking out in a good way. His head and neck are very triangular, not a nice curved shape. His body shape reminded me of a teepee instead of something round. His movement was less mechanical, which is good, except it reminded me of a western pleasure horse. As in, it was very flat and he was even dragging his hind toes in trot. Nothing like the nice trot I had in my quick canter video post. Maybe it's because I'm sitting the trot. I've made a huge effort to sit on him less, so I've been posting at home. I need the security of sitting trot in public right now because he's a bit looky. I really need video of him at home so I can constantly double check myself- I really want the SoloShot3 even more now!
|Someone is finally wearing all of the trailering things! Sped head, show halter, cooler, shipping boots.|
The judge pointed out the couple things I've been having an issue with and I'm not sure how to fix without screwing up the rest of him (every time I try to fix it, his gaits become very irregular). He's getting more and more counterbent to the left and I'm losing his outside hind all the time when tracking left. I'm losing it on diagonals and straight lines now, not just circles. The issues are obviously connected, but I need a lesson to help me out. I needed a lesson before going to this show, if only to set me straight on the ideas we worked on last time.
|Penn on the left, Fiction on the right. Nomming and sniffing noses in the trailer on the way home.|
I hemmed and hawed about sharing my test videos, and I just don't want to. They're awful and I'm embarrassed to have missed the mark so badly. I'll share the test papers though because I think they're fairly spot on. I also haven't had a chance to download them and I want to post this eventually!
|T1 - 59.348%, 5th out of 16|
|T2 - 62.885%, 5th out of 7|
|T3 - 63.864%, 5th out of 8|
Lots of notes about "tight back" and bend issues. There is one note I really disagree with- T1, movement 5- "trot between B & M". Her comment was "a little late". Umm, it's between the letters... and I sure as hell didn't canter into the corner because I have to actively pursue that around C. I watched the videos, I trotted between the letters like I'm supposed to. This was the first one, so there wasn't another transition location to compare to (since ideally you make the transitions between letters in approximately the same place both directions). Penn had an uncharacteristic loss of stretch in T3's stretchy trot. The centerlines weren't our normal good ones- I had a lot of trouble keeping him straight, and he tried to back up after the halts instead of trotting off.
Trainer comes home 3/16, and will start teaching again 3/21, so I'm hoping I can see her Good Friday or the day before Easter. DT will be out around 3/19 (which is difficult for me because I work at the barn Sat AM and I need to be home by 1pm that day), and I'd like to see her again to get her take on where I'm at with the work she wanted (I'm debating asking if I can haul to her on Sunday for a lesson). I also signed up for a clinic on 3/21 with Stephen Birchall. I'll be getting a lot of lessons before this series finale!
I'm still in the lead for the T1, T2, T3 championships, but I don't want to win just because I've been to all the shows (they sum the scores from every show and whoever has the most points wins). I'm keeping my own Top 3 average score of the classes, and I want to be in the top there too. If you calculate via "top 3 average" instead of "total running score", I'm in 3rd in T1, 2nd in T2, and 1st in T3. T1 has always been our weakest test (and the biggest class at each show), so I'm not heartbroken over that. There's quite a few people who have ridden it 3 times and even with 2 goof tests, I'm still in 3rd according to the "top 3 average".
|Riding Tuesday night.|
I've had some good rides since the show (though who knows, maybe I'm on crack and they were terrible), and I'm feeling better about where he's going.
- Tuesday night I kicked him up and through with my inside leg quite a bit and rode with a bit more pace than I normally would have. He leaned on the bridle a little, but his poll was still the highest point. Being so insistent on carrying a deeper feel (in sitting trot too) and more pace, most of my counterbend issues went away. I rode T1 before quitting and was happy with how it went.
- Wednesday night I rode outside as it got dark, letting him be a lot lower in the poll than he should (it was more of a stretch and relax ride for him). I rode the trot a lot bigger than usual and he really lifted his back and swung and became nice and lofty. I did a horse switch with a new girl at the barn- she rides the AA hunters and had never sat on a dressage horse, so we swapped. Mostly just a have fun ride.
- Thursday was good. We touched on the canter one loop from 1-3, which he did wonderfully to the right, and had a very tough time with to the left. I did some simple changes like in 1-3 as well, and the one from left to right works mostly well (I have to get him to hold himself up in the trot steps and not hurry so much), but the one from right to left does not work well- I can't seem to get the change of bend across to him. That follows the counterbend issues from the show and the difficulty riding a canter one loop to X on the left lead.
We'll get it all working again soon... I hope.