- Training 2 - Paddy forgot he's no longer a green horse in warmup, so we had no bend and no brakes in the test, and I forgot to ride because I'm always super nervous for the first test of the weekend. I wore my new brown Pikeur coat and almost expired because while it looks amazing, it breathes about as well as a wetsuit and it was 94 degrees. I managed to forget my test AGAIN (well actually I did the walk MXH and not MEH), so we had to do that part over and took the -2 error. Final score was a 64.4 (2nd/5) despite the judge commenting that EVERY circle was off-center and/or not round. Fail.
- Training 3 - I ditched my coat (yay white everything! So easy to keep clean!). got my act together, and rode the warmup and the test. The test felt pretty solid and workmanlike, even though I rode with too much hand and he got curled after some movements. The canter wasn't as good as he's been at home, but he didn't get too quick or unbalanced so that was a big win. Oh, and I made my circles round, dammit. We scored a 65.0 for 6th/11.
The nitty-gritty details:
If I want to do well in my first test, I have simply GOT to get to the show the night before and get a ride in. That was the original plan, but because of the additional 2 hours it took to drive, we got in much later than expected and there are no lights in any of the outdoor arenas, so riding was out. Unfortunately, Paddy's not an experienced enough horse to be able to go out into a crazy warmup the morning of the show and focus. Plus, he's not fit enough (and the footing was deeper than he's used to, so he got tired more quickly) to put in a long warmup, especially when he's putting in two rides per day. As a result, we didn't have enough time in the first warmup, so I wasn't able to really get him off my seat and especially off my right leg. Because he was so forward and distracted, I was hesitant to put my leg on and really demand that he work, which is what I should have done. Our test lacked focus and bend, and his haunches kept escaping me to the right. At one point it was so bad I remember thinking that we would have gotten good scores for the 2nd level test, where haunches in was a required movement. Oops! Oh, and I forgot my test. Again. Dammit.
Most of the judge's comments involved making better circles, him being a bit quick, and me needing to prepare him better. That's pretty obvious when you watch the ride:
For Training 3, I was determined to make the most of the warmup, actually RIDE this time, and get my circles the right shape. Oh, and not forget my test. I was really pretty pleased with this test. The canter could be better, and I could have asked for more throughness in the trot, but overall, it was very steady and workmanlike. The judge's comments were mostly about quick tempo, showing more reach from behind, and more bend in turns. Paddy did start to suck back BTV more in this test, which is super hard for me to counteract. I made a mental note to kick him more up into the bridle the next day, because it gets worse the more tired he gets.
We stuck him on a hill for this picture so he'd look bigger. I'm not sure it worked. Also, WTF is up with my saddle pad?
Fuzzypony and I stuck around to watch the para riders (SUPER amazing, btw), and then we headed out for dinner. Would you believe we actually got decent sushi in Tyler, Texas? We called it an early night, since the unexpected heat had taken a lot out of both of us and the Haffie.