Sunday, February 22, 2015

Playing it fair

This weekend, I had planned to go to a schooling show at our usual venue. But the show was full by the time I sent my entry in, so that was a no-go. Instead, we ended up at an even smaller local show, at a venue we'd never been to... and the judge was my dressage instructor.

Paddy and I have our first rated show in about three weeks, and I wanted one more outing before then for a little extra experience.  However, USEF rules say that if you've taken a lesson from someone within the past 30 days, you cannot ride for them in a competition (that is, they cannot judge you). Knowing this, I asked the show organizer if she would let me simply ride the tests in the arena, with no judge at all, or ride HC (just for scores, not ribbons). The show organizer kindly responded that it would be fine for me to ride for ribbons, since it was such a small local show.

Let's be real here - riding for ribbons, with your trainer as the judge (especially when you just took a lesson from her TWO DAYS before, and not 30 days) IS NOT FAIR. I believe that as a judge, my trainer was impartial to me as a rider - in fact, she's probably a harsher judge since she knows our every fault. Still, if I knew someone was riding for their trainer, and they beat me at a show, I would wonder about unfair advantages. For me, this show was just practice, but if this was someone's first show, or if this local show was as fancy as they ever do, then that ribbon might mean a lot to them. Besides, for me, getting a ribbon when you didn't actually earn it, or if you had an unfair advantage (perceived or not)... well, that just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

So I rode HC, because it was the right and fair thing to do. I actually have no idea how we scored compared to the other riders, but it doesn't matter. I accomplished what I set out to do - ride Paddy at a new venue, and not break in the canter during either test.  The warmup arena was SUPER scary, and he stared in every corner, but I just used more inside leg and didn't get all up in his face, and damn if that didn't work! I felt pretty good about both tests - they weren't stellar and super relaxed or anything, and I sort of forgot to ride his shoulders around a few corners, but overall they were very consistent and we didn't have any major faults. Our free walk, which we've worked really hard on at home, is still a chance for him to look around and be distracted in the arena (boo, especially since it has a 2x coefficient). But, even though we had a bunch of breaks due to scheduling snafus, he came back to me every time, instead of having a 10 minute argument about whether or not he really did have to go back to work.  

We got a 62.7% on Training 2, and a 63.6% on Training 3 - not our best scores ever, but very consistent tests overall. We continue to score well on the centerline (I could probably get 8s every time if we had consistent move-offs) and canter transitions (what tha what?), but get dinged on relaxation and impulsion. We rode in a small arena (wow that's cramped!) and there were some super deep spots in the corners, but I kept my leg on and he plowed through them like a champ. It was a really good confidence-builder before our first rated show.

We also got a chance to try out some of the swag I got overseas, and Paddy was sporting a reallllly fancy browband....

It looked so much nicer before it got all the boot oil on it... :(

So much sparkle! Thank you Amelia at Dark Jewel Designs!

And as usual, Paddy won the award for Most Adorable Pony. Seriously, I got "Adorable Pony" on my test. I was hoping I was safe for just this once... 

28 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun show, and really he is the most adorable pony!

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  2. That browband is divine ♡♡♡♡
    Of course Sir Paddington Bear got the adorable pony award....i mean look at that face peaking out of the trailer

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    1. You can have one just like it - talk to Amelia at Dark Jewel Designs on Etsy. She's AWESOME!

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    2. I have that wonderful etsy shop on my radar - they make beautiful things. My problem is I am super indecisive & can't settle on colours!

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  3. With that face you're never safe from an Adorable Pony comment!

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  4. Oh the browband colors are PERFECT on him! Riding HC is the right thing to do and you're pretty much the best moral compass when it comes to riding and horses, so I am not surprised :)

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    1. Aren't they great!?? I was just waiting for the perfect matchy-matchy saddle pad to come along, I just didn't know it.

      And thanks. Ribbons are nice, but at the end of the day you've gotta live with your decisions. For me that's the most important.

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  5. I totally agree with you on the fairness issue. A lot of people only show at those little schooling shows, and it would be totally frustrating to me to show against someone who was the trainer's student. Though, I also agree that your trainer was probably actually harder on you! :)

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    1. She actually wrote "blah blah blah" on the test comments, because it's the same thing she says every. damn. ride. You think I'd have it by now!

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  6. :-D Love this post. Love your high standards and pretty swag and the way you take care of my paddykins.

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    1. It's no fun if you can't be proud of your accomplishments, won fair and square. And yes, your Paddykins is nicely matched. You'd be proud, even if his whiskers weren't trimmed! ;)

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  7. Good for you for playing it fair :) Lovely browband!

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    1. Fair is the only way to play. And I love the brow band too!

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  8. You know I already admire you greatly but your conviction to always do whats right in every situation just makes me polish up that admiration more :)

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    1. I'm pretty sure I don't do what's right in EVERY situation - I'm not perfect - but I do try to at least play as fairly as I can.

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  9. Good for you for doing what's right!

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  10. Congratulations! And OMG how good does that pad look like! I wish I had the same for Hafl! And the MATCHING BROWBAND! makes the dressage diva really envy - no, you both deserve to look good too :)

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    1. There are a couple of stores online that still have that pad in that color - I tried to get it in blue or green but they are sold out. Hafl would look fantastic though if you can find one for him too! And yes, the matching brow band is awesome, isn't it? Do you think Hafl might like one? I can put you in touch with the lady who made them... ;)

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  11. interesting - i never thought of the trainer-as-judge scenario (even tho we had something similar at my own barn last year), but it makes perfect sense. in any case, glad you had a good time and Paddy looks phenom in his new browband :)

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    1. It's a USEF rule, but even if we're not at a USEF sanctioned event, there's no reason to ignore a reasonable rule. And yes, we had a great time, thanks!

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