Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4/2/2017 - Schooling Show Finale

Two Sundays ago, we trekked back to the winter show series and competed at the Finale show. I am not a fan of this judge- I have 5 tests, and have seen 2 other tests, from her that used ZERO half points. It's annoying. I get that not every movement is a half point, but this is at least 7 tests worth of movements with no half marks.

Penn was so thrilled to get braided, lol.

Penn hauled like a champ, hand walked around the show ring no problem, then stood and took a nap while everyone else was hustling around the show ring to school during the ring change. I was super thrilled with him- he was so relaxed!

I planned on a half hour for warm up- lots of walking, some trot and some canter. He felt so good and relaxed in warm up that he felt ready about 10 minutes before our first ride... which was the kiss of death. Sigh. By the time I got him in the show ring, a lot of the relaxation I had in warm up was gone and he started being a little spooky (as you'll see in the videos).

I tried something new this time, I put the test movements, score, and comments in the videos:

It seems the judge finally found her half marks, but is a fan of the 5/6 over and over still. Not that I'm saying Penn and I deserved more- we were quite average. His trot was not freely forward like it usually is and it was a bit earth bound In my quest to not pull the left rein all the freaking time, I seem to have misplaced bend. The lengthenings in all gaits needed more. She nailed us over and over for the irregular canter rhythm. Her only comment at the end of the test? "Work on canter." Great thanks, I wasn't aware my horse sucked at cantering right now. 59.118%, which put us 3rd out of 4, but less than a percent behind first. The major error of breaking from canter in the 15m left lead circle did not help us along!

We had 12 minutes between tests, which is a full 11 minutes that Penn and I didn't need. I let him walk for a few, then tried putting him back to work in the trot... he was stiff as a board and did not want to play anymore. By the time our second test came around, he was even more earth bound and stiff.

I really liked his entry halt. So straight! Since Penn didn't have enough in his lengthenings, he was obviously short in his mediums. We struggled with bend and angle in the SI, something I've been struggling with since attempting to break my habit of pulling my left (or sometimes inside) rein. I will only disagree with the "more angle" comment on the travers left. I think he had plenty of angle (maybe not in the first step though). I was originally irked by her giving me a 4 for the transition from left lead medium canter to collected canter- he didn't break gait in that transition... but it's better she marked that movement down rather than applying it to the serpentine where it happened (that's a x2 movement). So yay for creative judging to give us more points? I kind of gave up on the last centerline. The only comment again, "Work on canter." Thanks. 57.073%, for 1st out of 2. I'm actually surprised the score wasn't lower, lol!

Not our best day, but Penn put out a good bit of effort and I can't be upset with him for doing what I trained him to do. While I feel the judge was dead on most of the time, and got helpfully creative with some of her scoring so bad scores were on a non-double-coefficient moves, I also feel it was hard to get out of the 5/6 scores with her, and her comments weren't all the helpful. No matter, we got out there and rode it and gained experience at a level he's not quite ready for. It still broke my confidence a little- to be scoring sub-60 at first level, after all last year? Granted, we're still rebuilding his canter... but definitely a confidence drag when the next show out is recognized.

Austen pointed out that she just wanted to give him a big kick forward when I brain stormed with her after the show, and she's completely right. He needed a few more MPH in these tests. (more on that in later posts)

We finished out the show series strong, ending up with AA/Jr/Open Second Level Test 3 Champion.

Yay for tri-color satin!


  1. What a huge ribbon. Congrats on that. It does seem like this judge is less than helpful though.

    1. Surprisingly I've had less helpful judges! Lol thanks!

  2. Ooooh those ribbons!! Also I appreciate the video captions haha bc I don't know shit about actual usdf tests but want to learn!!

    1. Then video captions are here to stay! And I do like the big ribbons this place gives out!