Monday, December 16, 2013

12/14 Schooling Dressage Show (lots of picture spam)

This Saturday, Paddy and I went to our first schooling show together. But before I get into the details, Paddington and I have the MOST AWESOME entourage ever. Between Fuzzypony, who brought lunch, braided Paddy, and read the tests, MC, who brought extra warm clothes, helped tack and groom, and also took pictures and videotaped the tests, and Lauren, who took Amazing Pictures, I was SO well taken care of and Paddy looked like a million bucks. We couldn't have done it without you guys, and I am forever in your debt!

Dressage Show 12-14-13
A good moment during warmup

 It was a tiny dressage show at a venue I've been to many times - good facilities, nice people, low pressure. I signed us up for Intro A, B, and C, and did a lot of hoping that we'd actually be able to canter on both leads in Intro C.

We arrived at the show early so I could get in my volunteer hours. The day started off warm-ish and sunny, with no wind, but on the drive to the show, a front rolled in, the wind picked up, and the temps dropped 15 degrees. I wasn't really prepared for it, so I spent most of the day pretty cold. I actually ended up riding my test with a turtleneck fleece UNDER my white shirt, which made for a very stiff collar. Oh well, I was warm.

After my volunteer time was done, Fuzzypony showed up with a hot lunch (bless her) and commenced braiding Mr. Paddy-pants while I sat in the car with the heat on full blast and my toes on the heater vents. I kept telling her that she didn't HAVE to braid him in the cold and wind, but she insisted, and he looked FAB. He was the only horse braided at the show, and we got a ton of compliments.

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Haffie butt with awesome holiday braid.

Warmup went OK. He started off very distracted and forward, which is what I expected. We put the energy to good use, doing 10 meter circles, shoulder in, and lots of w/t/halt transitions. We had plenty of time and overall I felt quite prepared when we went in the arena for Intro A.

What I had not counted on is that while Paddy is not a spooky horse, he thought this would be a good time to look at ALL THE THINGS. We only had time to do one lap around the arena before the judge rang the bell to start our first test, so he was very distracted during the test and looked at everything. Including himself.
Dressage Show 12-14-13
OOOOO lookit the cute Haffie in the mirror!

I rode the tests as planned, but things I thought would be a problem (rhythm) really weren't, and things I didn't plan for were a huge issue. He spent a lot of time rooting in the bridle, and he was super escape-y in his shoulders both ways. For whatever reason, we can do a great 10 m circle in sitting trot, but a round 20 m circle in trot rising was just beyond our capabilities.

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Houston, we have lost the left shoulder.

Dressage Show 12-14-13
This would be so much more awesome if he weren't behind the vertical and pulling me out of the saddle.


Dressage Show 12-14-13
This is super cute until you realize he's spooking at something outside the arena (we are supposed to be flexed in exactly the opposite direction - not that you can tell from my legs, lol!).

Test B was better than Test A, in that we were less spooky, but he was getting annoyed and tired and was rooting more. He also broke into a trot during the walk, and we did this really awesome leg yield down centerline. Sometimes you just have to laugh...

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Neither of us had any idea where we were going on this centerline. I was voting for straight, he thought left was better. Whatever, smile for the judge!

We survived Intro C, and managed to get both our canter leads without running like maniacs. 

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Of course, the actual canter itself was rather unbalanced, but at least it happened.


We had some really nice moments though.

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Or at least, the pictures made us look good!

Dressage Show 12-14-13


Dressage Show 12-14-13

Overall, I was super happy with how he performed. We got a 65 on Intro A, a 62 on Intro B, and a 63 on Intro C. Not too shabby for a first time out!

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The 63 on Intro C was good enough for a blue ribbon!
We also got a 2nd for Intro A, and a 4th for Intro B.

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Our awesome entourage!

To move up, we need better connection, better stretch down and out, and more relaxation over the topline. It's coming, and he's made a ton of progress since I got him, but we really have a long way to go. In many ways I ride better when we're doing more complicated stuff (like 10 m circles and shoulder ins) and so he's more connected and obedient than when we're just cruising on a 20 meter circle. Unfortunately we have to be able to do the 20 m circle before they let us move up to 10s. And of course, we need to be able canter like a normal horse, instead of like a maniac. There are moments of brilliance in there, now we need to concentrate on making more of them and having them last longer.

Dressage Show 12-14-13
Photogenic Haffie makes me look good!

Still, I could not have asked for a more fantastic end to an otherwise rough year. :)


26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Your photos make us look good!

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  2. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE! *brain explosion*

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    1. I think the cute got us points with the judge, but I'll take them however we can get them!

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  3. Love the tail braid!! Looks like you guys did really good and it gives you some stuff you can work on. Paddington is so adorable and has a super soft eye. He is a drafty dude, I love it! Congrats :)

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    1. Fuzzypony does awesome braids, doesn't she? And Paddington is super cute, but I think all Haffies are. He's just the only one here so I may have an unfair advantage over the OTTBs. ;)

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  4. He's so cuuuute! I love that picture of him looking in the mirror. Glad it was a good first experience!

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    1. The one of him in the mirror is pretty cute, isn't it? Lauren has such a good eye for getting pictures like that!

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  5. You guys look FAB! Some of my favorite pics of me and Prair are where she's decidedly doing something other than what we're supposed to. Good pics are good pics!

    It sounds like a fabulous first outing and you guys are already gaining so much ground. Can't wait to see more :)

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    1. Thanks! I am lucky to have such awesome friends that make us look so good. :) And I agree, some of my favorite ones are when he's less than perfect.

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  6. You two look like you fit. Haffie is the one . . .

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I think you're right, Paddy is the one ;)

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  7. Great pictures! He is so cute, I love the holiday braid and congrats on your ribbons!

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    1. Thanks! Lauren is an awesome photographer and Fuzzypony is a great braider!

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  8. You guys look AWESOME!!! And you are potentially the cutest dressage pairing of all time.

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    1. Thanks! Paddy is ridiculously cute, isn't he?

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  9. Super huge congratulations! And OMG HE IS SO ADORABLE. Always. Always so adorable.

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    1. I believe his middle name is "adorable"... maybe "P-adorable Bear"?

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  10. Hooray!
    I love the holiday braid.
    What's wrong with leg yield down the center line? He was moving half forward and half straight. What more could the judge want?

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    1. I believe the judge was looking for ALL straight... call me crazy, but pretty sure leg yield doesn't come up till 1st level!

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  11. Congratulations all of you! AND HE IS SO CUTE SQUEEEEEEE!!

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    1. Thanks! And yes, the squee factor is strong in this one.

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  12. OMG that mirror picture is SO CUTE!

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    1. I love the mirror pic too! Lauren has such a great eye behind the camera, doesn't she?

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  13. YAY!!! Congrats! What great scores, especially considering how long you guys have been a team. You both look amazing and I love his braids!

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