Wednesday, April 8, 2015

San Antonio Spring Dressage II

Sunday dawned kind of cold and drizzly. Lesson learned - pack a jacket/fleece/something, even if it's 90 degrees on the day you leave for the show.

I fixed three of Paddy's braids before our 9:52 a.m. ride, and hubby took Paddy for a little hand walk and grazing session while I got ready. Somehow I'd managed to keep my white breeches mostly clean on Saturday, and since they hadn't caused any of the usual problems (tight in the knee, rubs on the back of my left knee), I opted to wear them for a second day (those breeches deserve a post of their own, someday soon).

Hubby and I had talked over what didn't work the day before, and I had a new game plan. After our warmup (again, lots of walking, lots of trotting, and one short canter each way) I was going to head down to A, do several figure 8s to make sure he was listening, and then go in. We figured since A was where he'd gotten distracted the day before, I needed to make double-damn sure I had his attention there.

Only, that's not really how it happened. See, you only have 45 seconds after they ring the bell/blow the whistle for you to go into the arena. And in that time, I couldn't get Paddy focused on me. Instead, we careened around on some figure 8s before I decided we didn't have any more time, and went into the arena. Big mistake.

Paddy basically decided that he didn't have to listen to anything. He also decided that any use of my inside leg mean "canter", so you will see a ton of hop-canter steps in the test. As a result, I was terrified to actually put my leg on and insist that he do what I was telling him to, and he used that to his full advantage.

We are actually trotting across the diagonal here, but if you look at the sequence of footfalls, you can tell he's taking a canter half-step. This is at about 2:17 in the video.

I had no idea one could do a canter depart like this. Yikes.

For funsies, here's the video.


I came out of that test pretty upset. Yeah, we had some nice moments and for the first part, he was more obedient and less rushed than in other tests. But overall, it felt like he was blowing me off. Still, it was good enough for a 63.5%, half a point better than the day before. That got us 2nd out of 3.

After that less than stellar showing, I was determined to make the most of our last ride. Paddy decided to lay down for a nap about 30 minutes before we had to start tacking, and was NOT pleased about being woken from his beauty rest.

Note that the Haffie is not smiling in this one. 

Another long walk, and this time I didn't canter him at all before our test, just got him working more off my leg and seat. Since doing lots of circles at A hadn't helped, I decided to go in and really move him forward around the perimeter of the arena... do some shoulder fore, a little leg yield to really make sure he was on my aids, then go in. And overall, I felt it was the most obedient of our tests. Our trot work was better, although our canter work was worse - but I think he was pretty tired by then and I sure wasn't helping him much.

Classy spook-and-bolt right lead canter depart. You can see this at 2:50 in the video. Also see how I'm not supporting him with my right leg AT ALL? No wonder he falls in so badly.

And the video:



We ended with a 62%, which was good enough to get us one qualifying score toward the regional championships. Never mind that we were once again 8th/8, with the high score being a 72. A 63.5 would have netted us 6th place, so were were a touch more competitive.

Overall, it was a big learning experience for both of us. Paddy has definitely got it in his head that he doesn't have to behave as much when IN the arena, and I'm not riding him as well. We clearly need a lot of miles to put in a better performance. Even so, I can't be too upset with our scores, even if we're not competitive against the big-moving Warmbloods. We still had a great time, and I'm looking forward to doing it again in a month!


19 comments:

  1. I see what you mean about the canter, but I don't think it looks as bad as you think. He'll get there! Plus, offering canter looks better to the judge than going stupid slow or breaking downward. The first part of your tests really seems to start okay, then kind of falls apart after the walk work. Does that seem accurate?

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    1. We usually struggle after the first canter - he gets unbalanced and then it's hard for us to get back together given the constraints of the test. More miles needed!

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  2. Oh haffie, don't ignore your mom! I think y'all did a really great job at your first rated show. Sure, some things to work on but you didn't embarrass yourself and when you put in the tests you know you can you'll be a lot more competitive!

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    1. You're right, for a first rated show I am pretty happy with it. Still, it's interesting to watch the videos and see just where the good and bad parts were. I wish I'd been able to see the vids after each test, because I would have realized a lot sooner that my hands were way up in the air, my legs were too far back, and I'd disengaged my core. Oh well, live and learn!

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  3. Yeah that was so bad. You should be really mad at him and SEND HIM TO MEEEEEEEE. ;-)

    Your good moments are very good. Your bad moments are hysterical. I know you'll get there eventually.

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    1. I may be sending his snotty little bratty haffie self to you with no return address. ;)

      And yeah, the good moments were pretty great... and the bad moments were pretty horrible. We just need fewer horrible moments!

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  4. Ya'll have come so far together in such a short time especially considering the injury last year. You're rocking it and leaving plenty room for improvement.

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    1. DEFINITELY room for improvement, lol!

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    2. Best way to be imo, but maybe cos that's my permanent state so gotta big it up ;-p
      If there was no room for improvement it'd be boring as sin

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  5. A learning experience is never a bad thing, even if it's kind of a disappointing thing! And scores in the 60s definitely aren't shabby!

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    1. I can't really complain about the scores for our first outing, but we have a lot to work on for sure!

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  6. What an awful terrible beast, here let me take him off your hands ;)

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    1. Aimee has first dibs sorry.

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    2. Yes, send to Aimee then I can cuddle him too!

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  7. all the same, he's pretty much the cutest dressage haffie around - congrats on the solid scores even if you didn't feel great about the tests. my mare is queen of tricking me to take off my leg too.. so i know the feeling....

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    1. Well, the tests weren't HORRIBLE but they sure weren't awesome either. I know we're capable of better... now I just have to learn how to make it better!

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  8. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn -- that's just how horse showing is.

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    1. Lol, it's very unlikely that we're going to win against the big fancy movers, and that's totally OK! I'm in it for the fun, learning experience, and the scores :)

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