Monday, June 13, 2016

Sort of Second Level

The dressage show scene in Texas is pretty much over between Memorial Day and Labor Day, because nobody wants to ride when it's 100 degrees out. However, I wanted to squeeze in one last hurrah and signed up for a schooling show this last weekend.

I opted to do 2-2, because 2-1 has like 9812738750123 simple changes plus rein back, which Taran currently does not do under saddle. And 2-3 is just... nope. Not yet. But I thought we could fake our way through 2-2.

And fake it we did. We can certainly DO all the movements in 2-2, and sometimes we actually do them really well. Taran has a collected trot, and he has a collected canter. And when he's balanced and on my aids and I'm not pulling on his face, he feels amazing and light, and sooo through his back. A canter/walk transition is as easy as sitting up and adding leg, a medium trot is as easy as opening the door and pushing him up into it.

But we're not there consistently right now. I struggle with feeling when he's engaged and when he's quick and short. I carry him too much and don't demand that he carry himself. If I can't get him through and over his back, and truly connected, the movements are disjointed because they stop right behind the saddle. If I don't keep him straight in canter, he quits or swaps leads. If I get grabby with my hands and forget to use leg... well, I have pictures for that. 

And of course, I did all the wrong things and none of the right things in our test on Saturday. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either. It wasn't how I wanted to ride. Taran was a good sport and made a huge effort for me, but you can see at every turn I'm not making it easy for him. I didn't go in there to own it, I went in there to survive. And survival is usually not very pretty.

When you start with this as your centerline, you know it's not going to be good.

I think there was an Intro level horse that was this inverted in the halt.

FYI, sitting medium trot is HARD. I'm happy I stayed on, even if I leaned back like a pro. At least Taran looks good!

Shoulder in

Haunches in? Or maybe a leg yield down the rail?

Walk pirouette. I was actually really happy that he didn't plant a hind foot and do a reining spin.

Obviously this is a second-level trot/canter transition.

That moment you realize your're not entirely on the left lead for your counter-canter half circle...  

... watch the hind leg come through... 

At least he can sort of do changes?

I managed to hold it together for the second counter-canter.

In case you've ever wondered what happens when your horse is cantering on his forehand, and you ask for a canter/walk transition with LOTS of hand and take your leg off completely, here you go:

Look, my horse has two legs!

Sliding stop for a 10.

Final halt/salute. I think the judge was as happy that we were done as I was.

If you want to see the whole thing, here's the video. You're welcome for the laugh.




Oh yeah, final score was a 58.84, and we were the only ones in our class so we got a blue participation ribbon. 

Stepping up to second more of a leap, at least for us - I've only done one 2nd level test about 15 years ago, and Taran has never done it. We have a LOT of work to do to make it solid. Better body control for me (my outside leg hangs there like a dead fish, I swear, and could I BE any grabbier with my hands???), a better feel, more strength and straightness for him... when we are able to put those things together, it works. It's a matter of chipping away at the mountain. I have a plan for the summer that involves a LOT of trainer rides for him and lessons for me, so hopefully the combination will put us in a more solid place by the time things start back up in the fall. I feel like I'm just barely beginning to get to the fun part of dressage, but damn, the fun part is harder work than ever!

32 comments:

  1. The good moments are good and the bad moments are hilarious. Not bad for a first out at that level I'd say. :-)

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    1. The bad moments were epic and the sliding stop pic makes me giggle every time. Visuals on what NOT to do!

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  2. LOL your sliding stop is amazing! :D

    Good on you for getting out there and trying though, I do it a lot and sometimes it really pays off. You now have more of a metric to plan for next time :)

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    1. Maybe he was a Western horse in a previous life?

      I'm super glad I did it... I do wish I'd ridden better. Next time though!

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  3. That's a really nice sliding stop you've got there. It's actually a really interesting shot with the 4 legs = 2 legs. Also, I love how you cropped the video to start right at pooping. I watched the video and I think you're being a little harsh on yourself. Sliding stop and lead changes aside, it didn't look that bad. Good job getting out there and trying.

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    1. I thought y'all would appreciate the poopage. Gotta share that, you know.

      It's not a terrible test, but it's nowhere near the kind of quality work we can do. I'm disappointed for that reason. But, it was a learning experience, and I definitely learned a lot. We'll be better next time!

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  4. At least you got out there! I think getting feed back to work on is very helpful for what I work on at home and it gave you a good starting score to improve on next time. Don't be so hard on yourself.

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    1. Getting out there and just DOING it was huge, and the judge's feedback was helpful as was the video. Altogether, very valuable experience even if I see all the flaws!

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  5. Good for you for giving it a go- that's what schooling shows are for!

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    1. It is! Gotta love the schooling shows!

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  6. Maybe not the test you wanted to lay down, but at least you know now that you will more than likely survive no matter what!

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    1. Haha, yes, survival is very important!!!

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  7. Aww yay Taran! I'm so glad you did it even if it wasn't what you were hoping for. The jump to Second is such a huge one, the tests really don't let up and it gets harder to recover from even minor mistakes. There were some really good parts though and you guys have a solid start! Yay!

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    1. It's funny, I didn't feel like the movements came up too quickly and 2-2 flows really nicely. We just need so much more of everything. As you said, it's a big jump, and it's going to take us a while to really make all the pieces solid.

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  8. That's not a bad score for your first outing at 2nd! You're on your way :-)

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    1. Just starting it feels like a huge win, even though we've got a long ways to go!

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  9. Congrats in your first outing at 2nd!
    Don't be so hard on yourself, a step up in competition is always a learning curve. Just means there is scope for improvement ☺

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    1. Definitely a big learning curve, and I'm having fun tackling it!

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  10. That's a respectable first score for sure! Major props to you!

    I feel that Harley was/is capable of 2nd level, but I had a difficult time riding consistently enough to get him fit enough to maintain collection for any kind of test and his big trot was not something that I knew how to summon on command. I also worked for weeks on that counter canter serpentine. I felt like it was way too much effort for a stepping-stone movement (Harley was like, duh, just change leads). Test 2-2 looks like way more fun!

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    1. Val, getting them fit enough to maintain collection is HARD, you're so right. It's going to require a lot of learning on my part to figure out how to get him and keep him fit. And that counter-canter serpentine is ... yikes! We have a long way to go before we can do that well. 2-2 is all we can handle for now!

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  11. My schooling show judge would have given you a zero for that awesome as shit reining stop. And probably would have laughed at you as well. Because I might still be a little bitter everyone gets better schooling show judges than me. MAYBE JUST A LITTLE.

    But hellll yeah for getting out there and doing it! No doubt you guys are both fully capable!

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    1. That reining stop deserved a zero. I think we got a four. And the judge didn't need to laugh, I was laughing at myself. It was epic-ally bad. But still, I understand the bitter.

      Second level, sistah!

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  12. If nothing else, it does seem like Taran is trying really hard to do whatever you ask, even when you aren't asking for what you meant to. That sliding stop for instance, was very obedient, just not what you mean to do. He looks so fancy in a few of those stills though!

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    1. He is definitely obedient and tries hard! If only is rider didn't ask him to do stupid things like sliding stops.

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  13. I have never seen such a good sliding stop in a dressage test :D sorry, just kidding! you both look great and made a huge step forward!

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    1. It was an impressive sliding stop, I have to say!

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  14. Hey - you guys did pretty darn good... goofy moments and all!

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    1. Goofy moments aside, I'm really glad we got out and DID it. Lots to work on for sure, but we did it anyway!

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  15. I think everyone who said you need to be less hard on yourself is correct. And, going into a test with a 'survival' attitude is somewhat self defeating. I'll do my best to remind you of that every time you pull that. :) I have to say the four legs = two legs is an amazing picture. I had to laugh out loud for that one.

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    1. Did I mention I was thinking about trying him out as a reiner? ;)

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  17. Props to you for just making it to 2nd! And Id say a 58% is pretty darn good too!

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