Monday, December 1, 2014

Our First Level debut

On Saturday, we went to a very small dressage/CT schooling show. I hadn't expected to go to the show - it was Thanksgiving weekend and my parents were in town, plus we were a (very very) late entry. But the very nice folks at Rolling Ridge Stables found room for us in the schedule, so we went!

I was kinda excited about it for a couple of reasons. First, since we didn't get to go to the local GMO's championship show, I hadn't gotten to get all fancy with the new coat and braids and such. I decided that even though this was a teeny schooling show, I was gonna deck Paddy and myself out to the nines. Secondly, our lessons have been going REALLY WELL. We have tons to work on (SO MANY THINGS), but each ride is so much better than the last, and I was curios to see how it would go at a show. Finally, it was on my secret bucket list this year to show first level, even if we sucked. I figured that this was as good a venue as any to pretend that we could do a first level test, lol!  I picked 1-2 instead of 1-1 because there's less canter in 1-2 (and we all know that canter is not yet our strong point) and because there's leg yield in 1-2, which we're pretty good at if we have it together.

Warmup. We only looked this good part of the time...

Rider needs more leg, less hand. In other words, DON'T PULL ON THE REINS.

For our first test, we did Training 3. The wind was whipping and there was some stuff to look at, but for the most part he was pretty focused on me. As you can see in the video, he's not relaxed over his topline or through in this test. That's still a huge struggle for us, and if I start pulling, he pulls back and it just goes downhill from there. You can see I'm riding pretty defensively, BUT! I felt like overall I did a better job of applying more leg and less hand than in many of our previous tests, even if it didn't necessarily look as pretty. We also had some really nice canters, which I am very proud of, although you can see where he starts to fall on his forehand and race. As always, a work in progress. 

Paddington Bear, Training-3


We scored a 62.4 - the scoring was stiff but very fair and accurate, and honestly I prefer harder scoring at a schooling show. In the comments we got "Rider needs to more effectively keep horse on the aids." LOL! So tactful, but yeah - ride with your seat and legs and STOP PULLING ON YOUR HORSE.  

We had one test (Fuzzypony on Taran) before First-2, so I went and tried to get Paddy more on my seat aids and remind him about laterals. As usual, our second test was much better, and I am SUPER PROUD of this test. It wasn't an amazing debut into first level or anything, but he was SO obedient and tried SO hard for me.  I really could not have asked for any more.

Paddington Bear, First-2

You'll see that I'm still too strong with my reins, but I did try to let go when I realized what I was doing. You'll also see the bobble in the right lead canter circle, where he broke. That was unfortunate, but he just couldn't hold it together so we took a few trot steps and fixed it. Our trot lengthenings were quick instead of forward, but since he wasn't truly over his back, it was all he could do. Our canter lengthenings... well, we survived, even if we did careen around the end of the arena after! We did get really good scores for our canter departs and our trot half-circles, and even 6s on our leg-yields, although I totally lost his haunches on the leg yield left. Getting him off my right leg is a struggle - we can do this movement well, but only if he's balanced and on my aids. And I just can't get him there consistently - yet. :) 


Still, he is the Best. Haffie. Ever.

We ended up with a 61.3, which I am super extra happy with! We had some 4's and 4.5 on coefficient movements (stretchy trot fail, anyone?), but he tried so hard on everything else, and those points are rider error anyway. The judge commented that he wasn't strong enough for some of the movements today, and she's absolutely right. He's not strong enough to be balanced all the time, and I'm not together enough to help him, which makes the laterals and lengthenings difficult to perform. It will come in time, though! We were the only ones to ride 1-2, so we got a blue "participation" ribbon. 

After, we tried to get some pictures, but Paddy wouldn't have it. I think these are the ONLY pictures I have where his ears aren't pricked at the camera.

Haffie not interested in pictures with cousin Taran after ride. Haffie want to go back to trailer and eat.

Haffie not amused by mom holding up earz.

Trailer is that way, mom.

OKAY FINE I PUT MY EARZ UP HAPPY NOW?

* All photos and video courtesy of Otter Tails Photography (a.k.a. MC)

45 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Oh yes. He goes, short and quick. Another thing to work on!

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  2. I saw the post title and YAY FIRST LEVEL! Glad it went well, strength is definitely always a work in progress no matter the level. Love your jacket! And his fancy braids :)

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    1. It's funny because I've always ridden eventers, and they were always strong enough to do the required dressage. Now, not so much.

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  3. Keep up the good work! You guys are looking really good :)

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  4. Great job! You guys look great (and very spiffy!)

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  5. Way to go! His ears were probably being blown backwards in the wind.
    Sorry I lost your head a couple of times. Better than you losing your head, though:)

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    1. No apologies necessary - thanks for the pics and videos, as always!

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  6. Nice job!!! Scores in the 60s are great!! He is so stinkin cute and you guys look very polished. :)

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    1. Well, it's just a schooling show, and we have a lot to work on, but it's definitely a start!

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  7. Even grumpy Paddy is adorable. :-)

    D'awww Paddy Bear.

    PS Yes I watched the video. You know what a big deal that is.

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    1. I hope you at least fast-forwarded through the walk part. Booooringggg.

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  8. Oo la la, the new jacket! Very swish :-D
    You and Paddy seem to be working about the same level as me & Flurry (although I suspect you've competed way beyond my level!) Paddy looks great a lot of the time & his canter will be very good when he gets stronger. Loved the videos.

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    1. Actually, the highest I've ever competed is 2-1, on Cash, in... 2000 maybe? So almost 15 years, and only one time, and only at a schooling show. And you and Flurry look AWESOME! So relaxed and handsome. I'm excited that you two did so well, especially given what an unfortunate episode he had. I hope you're able to figure out... and address... whatever caused it.

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  9. LOVE the "the trailer is that way mom" photo. Too funny. Congrats on a successful show!

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    1. Yeah he was NOT interested in standing around posing after!

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  10. LOVE that warm up photo! Wow.

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    1. We have our moments... now we just need to have more of them!

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  11. Ditto. He looks amazing in the warmup photo!

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    1. Now we just need to keep that for the entire 5 minute test... ;)

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  12. Congratulations! A real milestone and a respectable first score. You, at least, look amazing and delighted - Paddy, well, even grumpy is cute on him!

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    1. It's true, he's cute all the time. Good thing too!

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  13. So cute! Congratulations on pushing yourself and getting that First level test in, you guys totally belonged out there! I love his little distracted moments every so often. Really, very good looking tests - he's getting so consistent!

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    1. Hah, yeah, he definitely had some distract-o moments, but it was a very distracting venue. Not sure we really belonged out there - soooo much to work on! - but we had a great time anyway and I'm really proud of him. Haffie Power!

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  14. Nice! Paddy looks great. Like a Haffie doing dressage should (yeah, I'm looking at YOU, Mitch .. That's ok, I still love ya)

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    1. Heh, thanks! And aww, Mitch is super cute!

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  15. Woo Hoo!
    Congrats! You guys look very swish and Paddy rocked that First test!

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    1. Not sure about "rocking" the test but we definitely survived :)

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  16. Woop sounds like a fine start to First which enables you to pinpoint what needs more work and what needs refining. Love the photos at the end haha

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    1. Heh... the whole thing needs work and refining!!! But one piece at a time... :)

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  17. You guys look great. Congrats on a successful show!

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  18. Woohoo! So glad you were able to accomplish this goal :D

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  19. congrats on the debut!! he looks very spiffy in the braids and fresh clip - and love how much effort he's putting into it! and yay for blue participation ribbonstoo lol

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  20. Super cute, great job you too! And THOSE EARS!! I can't get over them, freaking adorable.

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    1. I'm going to wire those ears up, I swear.

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  21. You look great! Congrats on a successful first outing!

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