Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Schooling Show Recap 7/26

Showing off his new number holder and fly bonnet.

So I went to a schooling show Sunday, rode 3-1 and 3-2. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I've got a lot of mixed feelings.

All dressed up and not entirely pleased to be going.

My horse had major surgery just under 6 months ago on his hock and there was no guarantee that he'd be sound again, or hold up to doing third level again. I cried after my 3-2 test. People were like, "What's wrong?" and I would blubber out, "I'm just so happy." and they'd have to do a double take that I was serious.

"Engaging turbo thrusters cap'in!"
Extended canter in 3-2.

2. Well, shit.
I missed 60%. On both tests. Again. At a schooling show which tends to put out better scores than a recognized shows (though I've found the higher in level you ride there, the more consistent the score from schooling to recognized). I didn't miss by much, 3-1 was 59.242% with an error, 3-2 was 59.231%. It's still going to worry me that I'm wasting money at recognized shows attempting to finish my bronze. That and I'd really like to stop hurting my centerline scores average. After the bronze, I'm going to ride 2-3 and 3-3 at shows to try to get a dover medal and then a qualifying score that will let me ride a 3rd level freestyle. Riding both of those also will let me get my averages above 60%. I should not be worrying about that!

That right hock is bending very nicely now! This is about the max he can do for extended trot right now. It's not glamorous like a warmblood unfortunately. However, it is better than last year.

Extended trot needs to get a bit better, but for him, this is good.

3. Confusion.
I missed 60% on both tests. We're doing so much better than what we produced Sunday in 3-1, and a hair better than what we produced in 3-2.  A low score was completely and totally deserved on 3-1. I didn't have my head on right, especially after my boot zipper completely busted out after the medium trot so I got distracted and completely forgot to halt and rein back so I got an error, my canter was so messed up, and completely missed both flying changes. I just couldn't get Mikey to connect to the bridle. In fact, I thought I didn't deserve the score I got. It was too high a score. That was counting the error- it would have been 59.848% without the error. Mikey did have an incredible (for him) medium trot in this test, and was rewarded accordingly with a 6.5. The extended got marked down to a 6 because the medium showed more. Yarg!

My second test seemed a million times better, I got one flying change (it was late behind but that's an improvement for in public). I kept my head and thinking going. I'll admit, I let my head go a little bit in the last extended canter and botched the collection, and was late in my transition to trot on centerline. It scored less than the first test (not by much)- 59.231% again.

Our turn on the haunches leave something to be desired, they weren't at the level they were last year. Mediums and Extended trots were much improved though. I did get a reprimand for my rein release at canter to center it over centerline, but I turned my circle and felt Mikey attempting to bulge through me so I held him for an extra few strides so I could still show the movement, albeit late.

Last bit of coaching from Trainer. She is very patient with me.
Cantering around to A to enter for 3-2.
4. I'm so fat.
It's not like I didn't know that before. I've been watching what I'm eating by counting macros, and I've lost 9.4 pounds in the last month! Slow and steady will make it permanent right? I was feeling happy about it. It's the first time that I've been able to lose weight consistently, and it's been easy and I'm not hungry all the time or feeling light headed when riding. I'm able to make good choices and eat what I want. I watched the videos and looked at pictures and I'm like, you're still so fat. Just disheartening. I did decide to try Fitness Blender's 30 min 2 Week Fat Busting Workout for Busy People, which I found at No Longer Fiction's blog. It's $3.99, I'd like to lose more than my pound or two a week before Aug 15, and exercise will be good for me no matter what. It'll be a good confidence booster if I can be successful. And after watching my fat ass, yes, I think I'm ready for that.

But on the bright side, fat is not what made my boot burst in my 3-1 test. The zipper has been failing under the spur because it's been rubbed too many times and I think a tooth or two is bent. I'm sure the bottom at my heel gave, I held on for the medium trot and just pulled the whole thing apart.

Half pass to flying change fail, haha. He took off for a medium canter instead. This one got a comment of, "Horse seems prone to bolting through changes." Judge, you have no idea.
A smile for the extended canter! I got to the left to right change. Yes it was late behind, but it's better than any other change he's given me in public. I was super happy, so sue me.
5. Good comments, aka improvements.
Last year, every test had 'more engagement', 'lack of throughness', 'needs better connection' and 'needs changes' written on it. They were a hair away from saying 'horse and rider not ready for this level'. This time around, the first test had connection comments (expected- I couldn't find the right connection and knew it), but there were no lack of engagement comments on either test. Mikey is an "elegant horse" and we are a "capable pair". He got 7's on his gaits in both tests, even when I messed him up.

I'm pretty sure husband caught the single nicest step of the whole last centerline in 3-2 with this one picture.
6. A plan!
I have my plan for the next 3 weeks before our next show- a recognized dressage show. I'm going to use my fake equicube as much as possible. My tendency to drop my hands absolutely did Mikey a huge disservice in 3-1. We're just going for the hands up and together with it. I'm also going to practice keeping my tempo in the trot lateral work. That was the biggest, over and over comment in 3-2. The judge absolutely nailed it to me for it. In Mikey's defense on some poor half pass work- we added that back to our workload about two weeks ago. We're rusty. My trainer is also going to drill me on my medium/extended canter to collected canter because I bombed those too.
Yupp, Mikey was tired Sunday. He leaned his head on the wall between stalls to take a nap.
Looking back at my list, it seems like an overall positive day. We got out and did two tests, got constructive comments, and we didn't entirely bomb it. Why do I feel so shitty about it? I was really hoping for above 60%. I know, 59 point whatever is so close. It's not close enough when it matters at recognized shows, and this wasn't even a recognized show.

I'm going to post both videos of my rides... I hate them, mostly because I'm fat and therefore jiggle and bounce, and Mikey has a ton of movement to absorb. I'm sorry. I'm working on it. It's coming off slowly, but obviously not enough fast enough for horse shows this year. Hopefully this much accountability of me trying to lose weight will make the change in diet stick.

Mikey is off for most of this week. He was off Monday because he's awesome and worked hard Sunday. He's off Tuesday and Wednesday because it's 90+ degrees and without an indoor to keep the sun from beating on us, I can't put him through that, even for me to just practice with my cube. Thursday it's supposed to storm in the evening, so that will be a play it by ear. I'll ride in the rain- in the summer it feels nice. But I won't ride in a thunderstorm. I like not getting hit by lightning. We will ride Friday, then Saturday and Sunday I'm a groom again for my trainer at an event. She's riding 6 horses this time, 4 novice and 2 training. I will be groom extraordinaire!

Mikey loves his alfalfa, and it worked out well for us on Sunday. His energy stayed up through 2 tests in the heat of the day when it was 88 degrees. I'll be buying another stupidly expensive tiny bale for the last two shows of the year.

"Mom, I was a good boy today."
"So please dump some of this in my stall!" (I gave him another flake of it after taking these pictures)


  1. Excited to hear about if the equicube really makes a difference with your ride!

  2. sounds like a pretty good experience all round! Mikey looks fabulous in his bonnet (and his face looking at that alfalfa is priceless). good luck getting all your ducks in a row in preparation for the next show!!

    1. It was a good experience, I just need to get my head wrapped around it. I hadn't had him out at a show in about 10 months, so some of the test riding was rusty.

      I wish his fly bonnet came in a black a white version. I'm all about black and white in dressage, no color, but everything of his is navy blue, white or black, and I saw that white and navy mixed thread bonnet and was like, "I must have this for in public!"

      He loves his alfalfa, and on the plus side, it doesn't make him overly hot. He was in better shape at the end of last summer when I rode 3-1 twice in an hour with about the same amount of warm up as this past weekend, and he fizzled out on me in the second test. The judge basically said at the end that he was just too tired and we earned a handy 51%. I'm very happy with the amount of extra energy it gave him, especially since Sunday was around 88 degrees.