Monday, October 24, 2011

Ri and I: Our first "away game"

Ri eyes the green grass while I try to snap this shot solo.
We went to our first "away game" Saturday -- the adult team competition was held in conjunction with a recognized show but the team classes were not recognized. I had expressed misgivings about being in Intro level early in the week, but as I predicted I was pretty happy on Saturday to have the reduced expectations of Intro level. It was cold and windy and a lot of horses were getting the wind in their tail and acting goofy.

Ri was a good boy. Easygoing, attentive, calm, and tolerant, he was my dream-horse for the entire day, except that while we were waiting near the ring to go in, he started grinding his teeth. Thankfully he stopped when we went in the ring.

We got a 71.250% for fifth place in Intro B, and a 68% in Intro C (second place). Our team was reserve champion for our division, and Ri got a reserve champion high point ribbon for the Intro C test. At least that's what I think it is; I was not able to stay for the awards presentation.

Bob did not come to this show, and my backup videographer had difficulty with the video for my second test. Anyway, here is Intro B. I have no recollection of the dramatically cut corner as we turn past the judge at the start of our test. I do remember leg yielding down the center line after overshooting A by about ten feet.

I was not quite sure how to approach Intro level, whether I should just go for what I perceive to be an intro level frame or try to ride on more contact. I decided to try to focus more on just getting him forward and not put him into a frame.  That head-bob persists when we go to the right, and he has to be really confirmed in the contact before it goes away. In retrospect I think it would have been better to get him in front of my leg a bit more, and ride on more contact.I notice too that my hands could be steadier and more even.

Intro C was a bit better in my opinion -- he felt more up, and steadier in the bridle. However, the canter work -- that miniscule amount of canter in this test -- was problematic. I had trouble getting it AND holding it, and lost it on BOTH canter circles. Imagine if we hadn't messed up--our scores might have crested 70%. Our trot diagonal was  nice though. I can't wait to see the score sheet, will share it with you, good, bad, or ugly.

I had been nervous about this away show, and I got addled in both tests. Ri was right there for me and I just didn't come through with the goods -- this time.  I'd like to show a lot more next year--there's always next year!


  1. Sounds like a decent result for your first official outing! Ri is such a doll - how good of him to act like an old pro out there! (If memory serves, your trainer showed him once or twice...?)

    You guys will clean up next year if you can get out more. :-)

  2. Hi Laura, Yes, Ri has had great preparation, from breed shows to clinics to 2-3 away shows last year with my trainer. It's been awhile though, and in the back of my mind was the effect the cold/windy day might have. He was good, no doubt.

  3. I've heard lots of people complain about the canter circles in intro C. Every one of them said it was hard to hold because they are so short. If I remember correctly it's canter in the first quarter and trot before A.

    Ri looks great in his ribbons.

  4. "Easygoing, attentive, calm, and tolerant"

    In my book, that trumps any score.

    And congrats!

  5. He looks so nice and calm:)
    I bet you get good marks for that stretchy walk. He looked so forward and with 'purpose' across the diagonal.
    The head bob is really strange, though....


  6. Enjoyed the video. Well done! Congratulations.

  7. "....despite the fact that you were a bit hard on yourself, from my seat here in Mass., you and Ri present as a very elegant team, it's easy to see that a bit more exposure for the two of you is going to bring those scores exactly where you want them to be!"

  8. You guys look great!! I hate to say this but he looks a little off in the front! His right front stride is shorter than his left! Although it may just be the head bob that makes it look that way! I hope it's nothing!!

  9. I have never competed in dressage so I don't quite understand the intro and levels and A, B, C but I do understand the big red ribbon and the word "reserve" ;-) GREAT JOB!!

  10. Over 70% and 5th place? I don't think you had to worry at all about being more advanced than your competition. *S*

    I am so happy to hear that you did so well and found the level challenging for you after all. Since you had a bit of an issue with the canter after all, you were clearly working at the proper level for that show and that day. Well done.

    Impressive behavior on Ri's part. Now all you have to do is settle yourself to ride him as well as you do at home. You look wonderful together and your seat looks great. Congratulations!

  11. Good Job! I competed in Intro B this past weekend, too. It was our Double Qualifier show for Championships next month. I rode the test twice (both quals...due to other riders needing competition - there weren't enough for another class unless some of us rode the test multiple times).

    Anyways - I have always been told that Intro Level is just that - Intro. It is an INTRODUCTION to the world of Dressage. With that - the clear directives on the front of the test state "Horses should be ridden on a light but steady contact, with the exception of the free walk in which the horse is allowed complete freedom to stretch neck forward and downward". You had questioned the contact. I was instructed to keep contact - but not be completely "collected", yet the judge at the show had the following to say on my test "Good Job! Even at this level, horse must show more acceptance of bit with nose only slightly in front of vertical." Yet - the 2nd time I rode it - that judge was fine with the "soft/light contact".

    Just goes to show how subjective and interpretive the tests really can be.

    REALLY great to see you and Ri together:)


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