Friday, August 1, 2014

Horse Shows and Hock Injections

July can pretty much be wrapped up with the above title. All we worked towards was the show on July 20, and afterwards I scraped up some money for Mikey to have hock injections a week later. Poor boy was still stiff and post legged behind 4 days after the show.

The week coming up to the show was busy- I saw the German Riding Master on Monday 7/14, went to my trainer's Ride a Test on 7/19, and then left immediately for the horse show several hours away to show on 7/20.

7/14- Lesson with German Riding Master
German Riding Master renewed my faith in my horse's flying changes getting there... eventually. When I walked in the ring, he asked, "What are we doing today?" and I told him "Passage! But not really, I'm having trouble with my flying changes still." His face lit up, then he looked sad to go back and work on the same thing. I was too! He then told me: "Passage is not so hard, he will learn." So that's what we're going to do next time. He broke down my changes again, gave me a new approach since Mikey has been bulging and throwing himself sideways and running at the changes. Basically we turned down the worry level for the horse. Circling, changing bend and where the haunches are on a circle, come up immediately to a pole on the short diagonal, change. Bam. We only missed two changes that night, mostly because I brought the wrong horse to the flying change party. He said it will take time, but it will come eventually. He also told me to relax and ride the horse, don't overthink, and don't worry the horse.

Friday night was when the rain started. It lasted for the Ride A Test and horse show. We're ex-eventers. We dealt with it.

7/19- Ride-A-Test
The ride a test was very helpful, I finally got to ride 3rd 3, and run through 3rd 1 again. I don't really school the tests over and over, I ride bits and pieces of them then string it together in public. I may end up riding a half or so at home though, but it's hard to get everything planned down to the step at home without a standard size arena, or a marked arena (we ride in an open field). A good experience, and I was very very happy with Mikey. Everyone said how lovely we looked, and how nice we were to watch.

7/20- Recognized Dressage Show
Extended walk... he said I lost my contact?
Downhill? Really? I doubt that comment from the judge.
Gotta figure out how to hold my reins better so I don't
end up with slack on the bridoon. That rein slips while my
curb rein is rubber backed and doesn't. :-(

The horse show was a bit of a bust, I only say that because of how tough the judges were. I checked Saturday's scores when I got there, at least half were in the 50% I'd say. I spoke with a couple people from the barn that holds clinics with the German Riding Master, and they said they'd all had their lowest scores to date.

I rode 3rd 1 first, and aside from botching the one change entirely (I had to salvage Mikey trying to drag me sideways across the arena instead of changing), I thought it was a nice test. Yes it could be more collected, and looking back on it a bit more through, but I thought it was accurate and competent. How wrong I was apparently. My shoulder ins were 4's (I usually get 6 or 7), the botched change a 3 (understandable), runny change a 4 (umm... I got the change, that has to count for something right?), and apparently our medium and extended canters are now downhill. I have pictures of those where his front end is 4 inches above his hind end (see left). I beg to differ. So that was a 54%, which I don't think we deserved. I am so proud of Mikey, he worked so hard for me in that test. Maybe we didn't deserve a 60, but we certainly were better than 54. I'm a good rider with good feel, I know when I'm wrong (I may not always know why, ie errant seat bones not doing what I'm telling them), and this test didn't feel that wrong.

Extended trot... I'm actually super pleased even though it could be better. For us, this is better!

Shoulder in. 3 tracks really isn't a lot of angle!

I totally deserved the 56% I got on 3rd 3, where I botched both changes and one of the canter half passes (so how did I end up scoring BETTER than my good feeling test? I have no idea). I was still happy with Mikey. The half pass wasn't his fault, I broke it in the warm up fiddling with his changes instead of leaving them alone. We have a hole on the left side, I get overactive with my right seatbone, think I've corrected it, and Mikey lets me know I haven't by shooting to the left when we're tracking right. Well I got him overexcited in warm up and that was the first thing to snap.

Half pass. I love it.

Most of my comments were about finding better collection (my trainer took that to mean sit and engagement, more below) and better bend. Something achievable between now and the next show. His medium and extended trots were much much better, so I was happy (we got 6's).

Mikey had 3 days off after the show to chill and be a horse, and on Thursday that week my trainer and I talked about the show and hock injections for him. She said when she'd lead him to and from the fields, he wasn't stepping right behind and it should have gotten better by Thursday. She mentioned the comments about collection were probably more because he doesn't engage as much as he could, and the injections should help the overall tightness he carries in his hind end that translates to his back too. We had planned on injections and Adequan next year as a replacement for his supplements, but she said it's time to scrap that plan and do it now. Like the first day the vet is available to do it. And that was Monday the 28th. The Adequan is still on hold though.

To say the least, July was very, very expensive and I'm glad to see it gone!

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