Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rolelu Stables Dressage Show

My prep for this show was a little different than usual as we'd just run around a horse trial the Sunday before, and while I pretty much always give Bobby the day before a show off, I ended up flatting him Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Three days to work through some remedial problems (like walking and keeping his shoulders from spiraling off into space) and learn three new tests turned out to be a little more daunting than I thought it was going to be.

Nevertheless, our Friday ride was really good. As long as I could duplicate that feeling at the show and not forget any movements, I knew we'd dominate that shit.

Although I should clarify that technically I only had to dominate myself....in a not weird way. Because of low entries, tests were being scored on percentage only: score below a 65% and get a red ribbon, or score above 65% and get a blue ribbon. Being a schooling show, I was hoping those scores weren't too far out of reach.

love this canter

Bobby warmed up really well in the indoor. Unlike when we were here last month for the CT, he didn't look around once and went right to work. After a quick w/t/c warm up where I couldn't have asked for anything better, I did a couple of leg yields, lengthened the canter, and then headed outside down to the dressage court.

Unfortunately, Bobby lost a lot of focus once we were down by the ring. There were a few people milling around at the top of the hill overlooking the ring and you could see the horses out in their paddocks. We also had to wait while they reset the ring from small to large size. I took him back into the indoor while they did that, but the second he was back in there, he relaxed and went to work. I brought him out again, and his attention disappeared again.

First 1

He was quiet enough heading down center line. If nothing else, this horse knows his job once show time comes, but I knew right from the get-go that our work wasn't going to be what we'd done the day before.

not up to par, robert

We coasted through the first half of the test, really only nailing our stretchy trot. That was a definite win on its own though because getting Bobby to stretch at shows has been impossible up to this point. Then we hit the walk work. We managed a 7.0 for the medium walk which was probably a little generous, and then a 6.0 for the free walk because it involved staring at people.

He got above my hand when I shortened my reins back up, and in an attempt to keep him from looking any more tense, I left my reins too long and didn't get organized fast enough by the time we had to pick up the canter. He was crooked and counter bent and ended up picking up the wrong lead. I got it corrected immediately, but blew that movement for a 4.0.

actually from 1-3 which is why the trot looks better

From there, the rest of the test got pretty sloppy. The footing was super deep from the never ending rain so his lengthenings were almost nonexistent because he just couldn't get a hold of the ground. I lost his shoulders in the fucking 15m circles as predicted and didn't get above a 6.5 on any of that.

We did manage to salvage our score a little bit by nailing the change of rein and the ensuing canter transition. We got an 8.0 and 8.5 on those, and then an 8.0 for his final halt because the halt is Bobby's bitch. Our final score was a 67.77%

I was disappointed with what I knew was a pretty lackluster effort, but I came out determined to ride the next tests stronger.

First 2

There really wasn't any place to school Bobby outside the ring, and there wasn't much room to do anything but barely squeeze around the court, plus I was trying to make sure I knew my test without having to pull my phone out of my sweaty bra (a horse girl's gotta do what she's gotta do), so I didn't really accomplish much in getting Bobby in a better frame of mind--or body.

first lengthening

We started off feeling just okay. His had a little more push in his trot lengthening, and we turned in at K to do our half circle before leg yielding over to M. Then the judge rang the bell. I was like, "What the fuck did I do? There's no way I've forgotten something this early in the test!"

She started reading off the movements and asked if any of that sounded familiar. I stared at her for a second because I'd just done exactly what she'd read. I told her that yes, that's what I'd ridden, and that I had just done my leg yield from L to M--was that not right? Turns out she just wasn't watching when I did my half circle so she had us restart from there and didn't give me an error. Good thing because I'd ridden the movement.

This is what I get for showing at unrated dressage shows. Remember that glorious moment last year where I halted at X for a full minute before the judge remembered I was in the ring?

leg yield

Whatever. I like dressage, but not enough to ever pay the ridiculous fees to show in it rated. I'll take my silly judges and sillier ribbons and shut up about it now.

Anyway, we carried on after that, did a worse leg yield than the one before that didn't get judged, only got a 6.5 on it, picked up some 7.0s and then failed at the free walk again. The rest of the test was obedient, but nothing to write home about. I got control of the 15m circles a little more this time around at least.

trying to maintain control of the canter on the circle

The one thing we did consistently "meh" on in all our tests were our canter lengthenings. Does anyone have any good examples of a First level canter lengthening they can share? I'm probably not letting Bobby lengthen his frame out enough while lengthening his stride in fear of him falling on his forehand, but at the same time....I don't know. I guess I'm just confused on what judges are looking for.

i assume this is a stretchy trot and we're not just free wheeling along

With a pretty consistent line of 7.0s across the board, this test scored a 70.0% I thought that was exceptionally generous, but I'm a naysayer and we were at a baby schooling show, so whatever.

First 3

Bobby started to get a little sassy at this point, but that actually works in my benefit as long as I can keep it from tipping over to full on tantrum. He gets a lot more reactive, and I can channel that easier than working with a slug.

leg yield zig zag

Our scores were either hit or miss--we either got an 8 or a 6.5. Awesome as shit leg yield zig zag, boss stretchy trot, fail horse on the ten meter circles. Pathetic walk work, bitching counter canter loops.

once upon a time bobby couldn't even canter a straight line.

Another total miss on the canter lengthenings, finally a solid hit on the trot lengthenings. We finished with a drop mic 9.0 final halt. Our collectives were also good, and aside from a comment on working more at the walk (yup), she was very complimentary on Bobby and me--though looking at these pictures I want nothing more than to yank my shoulders back. We ended that test with a 71.47%

favorite picture of the day

Despite the inflated scores and three more blue ribbons, I wasn't totally happy with the show. My only goal was to go in and ride my lady balls off to get every point I could, and I definitely didn't do that.

However, this was our first time doing these tests at a show and the very first time we'd ever run through all of 1-3. I've ridden Novice A approximately ten million times, and it's one thousand percent less complicated than any part of these tests, so I just have to carry that goal over to next weekend.


  1. Congrats! Even if you don't think it was your best, a non-event experience is a good experience!
    Also Bobby looks awesome.

  2. woo hoo yay for some sweet satin! tho how is it that you always end up with the judges who are apparently doing everything BUT watching your ride?

  3. That is so weird about the judge....! Sounds like a good experience for you both. Where are the red ribbon pics? :)

  4. Your judge needs blinkers on. Full cups.

  5. Schooling dressage judges can be interesting.

  6. WTF judge!! Glad you got some satin and some great moments =)

  7. I'm impressed you remembered three tests. That seems impossible to me.

  8. Oh my, that last picture oozes sex appeal. Just look at it. Bacon needs to take some lessons from Bobby!

  9. Loved reading this since these are the tests I'm working on! I wish I had a good example video of canter lengthenings to share with you because I've looked for that too. I basically tell myself to gun it, but that's because I'm allergic to speed and if I don't do that I won't show nearly enough difference.

    1. We got a couple of comments that change of pace was shown but not change of frame. I can't figure out how much of a change of frame they're looking for at the canter without it turning into being on the forehand--at least on Bobby's part. Is it supposed to be like a faster stretchy canter? So confused.

  10. Congrats! He looks so beefy in those pictures

  11. Canter lengthen should be a longer frame because a horse can only lengthen as far as their legs go. A forward canter and a clear change is what they want to see :) congrats!

  12. That canter pic and the last trot pic, hubba hubba!


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