Sunday dawned very cold and very frozen. The snow stopped by midnight or so, but it was bad enough that the plows came out on a Saturday night. Luckily, that meant that by 6:45 am, everything was fairly clear.
The boys had a good night, so it was just feed them and get rolling to warm up! I did take Penn for a little hand walk around the show ring before they dragged the arena and started the show. Just a reminder of, "Here's the judge's table, it's not scary!"
|Naptime after the tests! So tired after 3 separate rides in the last 24 hours. Vacation = earned!|
Remember how the judge at the first show in this series didn't use half points? Guess what we had again? A judge that didn't use half points. I'd really like to know what these tests would have been with half points... I got all 6s and 7s (yay!), but from what I felt and watched, I'm sure there were a few 8s in there, or at least 6.5s and 7.5s. Either way, still super happy with the scores and the tests and with Penn!
Without further ado, on to the tests, score sheets, and a running commentary after:
And the score sheets:
|65.652% - 4th out of 12|
How did this entry get a 7? He was no where near square! I think this was one of his least square halts of the day... I realized part way through the medium walk that it was too slow. Oops. I think I agree with most of the judge's comments, but I might disagree on some of the 'on the forehand' comments. I will give it that he wasn't in an uphill balance, but I don't think he was downhill either. The poll got a little low at times though.
|68.077% - 1st out of 12|
Sidenote: This test was the high score of the day! (Not an actual award though)
Right off the bat, at the end of the first trot circle, I forgot about making the shoulders meet the rail first. I never really got them back because the next comment was loss of haunches. The left lead canter was a bit sloppy- it's the weaker one. Coming down from the left canter was a mess- I can't quite tell what happened, but when I was riding it, I thought he pulled off a shoe. I took over a lot of the responsibility for holding Penn up for several strides into that trot. My stretch circle wasn't as good as it could have been because I was slightly distracted. I was looking at the ground for a shoe! All I can assume is he interfered and it hurt a lot. (I did have husband check his legs after the test.)
Can we talk about the right lead canter and why it didn't get better than a 7, even if it needed more bend? This is training level. This is an educated canter for the level. What do we have to do around here to get an 8?
The judge was on point with the final halt- he wasn't straight. I felt Penn getting tired in this test, so I did a little more to help him (and I remembered to pull my elbows down a bit too- when I get it right we get beautiful moments like that right lead). Again, I don't agree with on the forehand. He was light in my hand. Yes, he's not built uphill at this time (still praying for his front legs to get longer! haha), but I don't think he was on the forehand. Maybe once he's stronger and can engage better, those comments will go away. But again, training level isn't about engagement.
|67.273% - 1st out of 10|
By this test, I was trying to conserve Penn's energy- he was getting pretty tired. Excellent entrance for this test. No idea what I was thinking when it comes to the first trot one loop- I realized mid loop that I was going to go waaay past centerline. Oops? For the left lead canter, I didn't get myself up and get my elbows pulled down, so Penn never got any lift and his poll dropped too low. I was working hard past the judge to get Penn lifted and collected so this diagonal wasn't a complete disaster- I don't think it worked out as well as it could have. He did transition to trot better than he had been in lesson the day before, but it's not ideal (Trainer's words of wisdom that I'll have to really help him out at that point were streaming through my head). Second trot loop was better, and I can agree that his canter was sluggish to start... which is an old bad habit of mine! Ok stretchy circle... it felt incredible, and very similar to the ones I did with DT that she thought should clean up. And he got a 6. He did go to the forehand a little, but he wasn't stumbling all over himself. I was very happy with the end halt- perfectly square!
|Penn and all his ribbons! On the stall because I couldn't get them all on his face!|
I know I'm getting extra obnoxious here, but the lack of half points irks me. Like last time when there were a whole slew of ties when no half points were awarded, I believe there were 8 or 9 ties at this show. I'm still super happy with the tests- Penn was great. And he was relaxed enough that I didn't feel the need to sit the trot for the entire test!
Anyway, I think the series had tougher than usual schooling show judges- these were not the most generous judges I've seen (the judge's average score at each show: 60.5, 60.8, 61.1, 60.2, 59.3, 60.4), and I think at schooling shows they should be a bit more generous than that. Barely anyone broke into the 60s at Intro Level at any show, which isn't very encouraging! I think some recognized judges have better averages in a year of recognized shows than these schooling shows. Though that brings about the question: is the quality of horse and rider competing better at recognized shows? I know a couple months ago several blogs had a lively debate about that. Or do judges at schooling shows just not know enough since they're usually L graduates or below? Interestingly, the judge at the 3rd show, who had the highest average, is an R judge and regularly judges Recognized Horse Trials. I'm sure we could have a whole post about that!
Since this was the finale show, they also awarded the series champion ribbons- all of a horse's rides for a particular test were summed and whoever had the highest sum at the end of the series won (as long as they had the minimum 3 scores). There was only one division- Open. No splits for Open/AA/Jr. Since everyone was lumped together, that made for big classes. The training tests had the biggest classes at each show, which meant there were many more horses competing and more that qualified for Championships than any other test (any combo of riders could ride, the scores were summed by horse only):
- Training 1: 48 different horses competed, 7 qualified for Championships.
- Training 2: 40 different horses competed, 5 qualified for Championships.
- Training 3: 40 different horses competed, 3 qualified for Championships.
I'm sure you've realized by now that Penn won all of the Training Level Championships, yay!
|Made an effort to get these ones on his face though!|
|I had to get in a picture with the champion ribbons.|
As a final note, I've been keeping a detailed record of Penn's show history in Excel. I wish I had done that with Mikey. I want to see what Penn's average score is for each movement within tests and across all of the training level tests. It's kind of like Centerline Scores, but I'm able to include lifetime results (schooling and recognized). As it grows, I'll probably edit the file so it does a recognized breakout, schooling breakout, in addition to the lifetime results.
The general data I've collected from this show series alone is astounding (it helps that they post all the results online, and at a 90 ride max for each show, there isn't too much data to organize). I have enough to dedicate an entire post to schooling show statistics! We'll see if I go all Math Geek on you! By the last show, I had a lot of data on each horse in the series (I'd been tracking the training level results to gauge where Penn and I were at for the championship), and I was watching regression towards the mean at work for each horse (as long as I had 8-9 scores for the horse). But below is a brief view of Penn's stats from this series:
|The shows with the 2 highest averages? We hauled in the night before.|
The two shows with low averages really hurt our series average.
Perhaps I'll bore you all with a statistics post later this week. Maybe not. But stay tuned for Part 3 of our weekend, when Penn tried to break his face!