Monday, July 2, 2012

WRC Dressage Schooling Show

First of all, I just have to say how awesome the organizers and volunteers of this show were. By far the best people I've ever met at a show. Everyone was super nice, ready to answer any questions no matter how dumb, Linda (the woman running the show) knew everyone by name after checking in and she was able to pick us out in warm up to tell us we were up next. Everyone went into the arena to the minute for their ride times and results were up the second the division was done. Plus, when we checked in, we each got a baggie of homemade horse treats. It was a small show and it was hot, but there were free donuts and bottles of water at the secretary's stand. Little things like that go such a long way and I will definitely be choosing them for a dressage show before others in the future.

linda directing traffic.
I gave myself thirty minutes for warm up since that's been about the amount of time Bobby's needed to work at home before he comes down from the cantering high and thinks about starting to stretch. I thought he was going to be a complete tool about settling down after cantering, but I'm going to have to give into the fact that Bobby is a completely different horse at shows. He comes out with his game face on, does what's asked of him, and moves on. He just doesn't need a lot of warm up time because he's so ridiculously good away from home. Gosh, what an awful problem to have!

I ended up jumping off of him and hanging out in the shade for fifteen minutes before giving him a ten minute workout and heading in for the first test.

Bobby was a little mincy in the warm up where the footing was rock hard and I didn't really push him to go forward. When the judge blew her whistle, I was at the far end of where I needed to be, so I took a chance that Bobby's showtime manners would hold and cantered the long side. It put a little more pep in his step, but he was came right back down to the trot without yanking on me and in we went.

I've been schooling our halts a little obsessively and Bobby has taken the hint that coming down the centerline means prepare to halt. He nailed the first halt and kept his focus through the salute. (It helped there weren't horses galloping by this time around.) We started out with a little bit of a giraffe head before getting a rhythm and getting to work. He came right back down to from the canter and after several strong half halts in a row, he got the hint not to take off when I gave him some rein for the stretchy trot....of which there was no stretching until the very last stride. Dang it. For the free walk, the judge's comment was "needs much more bend." ?? Am I supposed to bend in the free walk?? Why is dressage so confusing?? The rest of the test went without issue. Nothing spectacular, but I didn't forget anything and Bobby didn't get pissy.

The judge wasn't giving feedback (which I thought was the point of small schooling shows, but whatev), but I rode by to say thank you and she pulled us aside.

Bobby was blown away that the trailer was speaking and felt that he was justified in giving it the hairy eye each time we passed it. He stopped to listen politely though, which was a nice change from our dressage show last year where he was certain the speaker was going to come out and eat him.

So. What did the judge have to say to us? "Carly, I had to give you two tens in that test." To which my reaction was, "WTF?!" Oh. That was just in my head. I actually said, "SERIOUSLY??" in a seriously shocked voice. Clearly she was a crazy person. She gave us a 10 for the medium walk between A and F with the comment "Good free walk. Nice, soft contact. Chewed when reins were shortened." So why did I only get a 6 on my free walk? people confuse me. Also a 10 for our final halt. Practice makes perfect. Literally. She told me that she really liked that he chewed the bit and that both are halts were nice and straight. She said I was doing a good job with him and to keep up the good work. If only he wasn't such a pain in my ass at home....

big hug for a good boy.
Our final score was a 69.58% which earned us a first in Training 1. I'll take it, even if I don't think we deserved it!

Bobby spent the next hour and a half sticking his nose in everything and just being a general nusiance. He's so busy all the time, like a great big baby.

"you with the crinkly wrapper, share your cookies!"
"maybe there's something fun to play with in here."
"or in here."
"or maybe they put something fun in my water."
nope, just horse quencher.
Finally, once he decided he didn't like salt and pepper chips, but he did approve of Twix bars, he settled in for a nap. Right before I had to tack him up and go in. Where's that Mountain Dew when you need it?

such a droopy lip.
He warmed up amazingly. Awesome stretch, awesome trot, awesome everything. And then we got to the dressage ring and he was quite adamant about the fact that he was not here to do even more dressage. He proceeded to go into giraffe mode and didn't get out of it for the whole test. But he did do one killer stretchy circle! His only redeeming move. I was just shaking my head and laughing off all the naughtiness. His first test was great, he's not a dressage horse, and I survived the second test without forgetting anything. No reason to get mad about it. In fact, I think it's a testament to how much he's grown up this year that all he did was stick his nose in the air instead of having a complete meltdown.

We got one 8 for the medium walk, a 7 for our stretchy trot with the comment "good stretch shown", and a 5 for our final canter. It was enough to get us a 59.64% and 3rd place.

I have to give you dressage riders some serious kudos. Remembering those tests is hard work, and after doing only two of them I was so tired! I promise I'll have video eventually. Youtube reports that Training 1 has 281 minutes left and Training 2 has 170 minutes to go. Seriously. Youtube hates me.


  1. Dressage IS confusing. Testing in that is something I don't think I could ever do. But good job!

  2. OMG...I haven't been doing dressage that long but 2 - 10's?!! Congrats!!! Bend in the free walk? Have no clue what the judge meant by that.

  3. Hooray Bobby!! That turned out great. Heh. After all that awesomeness, I sort of think I'm going to hide my dressage video. :p

    1. Oh, don't worry. You can post it side-by-side with Training 2 and Cuna will look like Totilas!

  4. I don't know anything about dressage... but congrats on the good score and the good moments with Bobby!

  5. Congrats! I'm not really a dressage person but I know that getting 10's must mean you did really well.

  6. WOW! Two tens??? AH-MAZING. And free donuts too! Why doesn't my schooling shows have free donuts?
    Is there a video of the test?


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