Monday, June 11, 2012

We came, we saw... Dressage show debriefing and marital dischord

A shot from test 2 of that day
The barn where I ride hosts 2-3 dressage shows a year. Normally I participate but Ri has been having saddle fit issues (don't get me started), and I was planning to sit it out. But the show had light entries, and the manager said, "You know, why don't you sign up? You can always scratch if he isn't feeling better."

As it happened, the barn's saddle fitter was able to stop by the Monday prior to the show, and he tweaked the tree. Ri seemed happier, and I did compete, and...

We got 9's!
The first test, Training 1, felt awesome. Yes, our halts were crooked, and yes, our canter departs were an approximation of what you see in the children's hunter classes (rider kicks, horse throws head up and lurches forward). But, the actual cantering was an improvement from our last show, and  trot work felt wonderful.   Ri was just "on his game," alert but not hyper. I concentrated VERY HARD on keeping my leg relaxed and riding off my seat, and I think that was a big part of it. We got 9's on our stretchy work, a 9 on our right trot circle--you know, the bad direction? When the judge told me Ri got 9's the urge to do a fist-pump was overwhelming.

She also said "don't spend too long at training level" and noted that on the trot on the diagonal Riley really did a mini lengthening. If  I can develop a stronger connection (esp. into the canter), and if I can manage a leg yield, first level is not that far off the mark.

We got a 76% overall, and a clear idea of our strengths and weaknesses--which is what schooling shows are about. We need to fix the canter departs--they're truly awful.

Bob, who was slated to videotape, OVERSLEPT, so there was a public display of marital dischord for all to see immediately following his arrival -- he managed to video the the very end of my second test. It's not usually my style to dress someone down, and esp. not in public, but my "disappointment" was apparent to everyone nearby (and maybe even not-so-near). Bob took it on the chin without saying too much (except "I'm sorry"). Well. His excuse was inadequate.

In hindsight, maybe this slipup is a good thing. Maybe the actuality of the test was not as awesome as it felt. And, there was a guy there taking pix. I'll see how the stills look.

Tempering with reality
I can count on Bob to be completely honest -- he told me that what he saw looked great--but he also observed we had the best ride time of the day, 9am on a beastly hot day (I'd asked for that time since I had barn chores).  To this I would add...
  • Hey, it's training 1 not I-1
  • Ri is an easy ride
  • Ri had a shot of Pentosan a few days earlier.
I was wondering if the judge was scoring generously, but she wasn't really. She WAS using the full range of scores -- low where merited, and high where (arguably) merited.

Stay tuned for test 2!


  1. Well, in a lot of years of showing several horses from Training through Prix St. George, I have NEVER had a test that good, so WELL DONE!!!

  2. I think you should give yourself a pat on the back for the rider coefficient too. Well done!

  3. Fantastic scores! You've really worked hard to earn those 9's.

    And don't knock training level. It's where all the good stuff starts and proves the basics are well done.

  4. I just about pumped MY fist for you! Way to go!!!

  5. And, to add MY two cents' worth, you got one of those 9s where it counted (with a co-efficient!) I think all in all you did very well (almost a "catch ride" except you were on your own horse) and all things considered, this might be the shot in the arm for you to get that saddle issue taken care of and move into the heady ranks of First Level! And I'll tell you this, too: Maybe Bob's oversleeping was a good thing because if you're like me, you'd parse this ride to death over the video and come away a bit less enthused about it all.


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