Monday, May 14, 2018

CNYDCTA Informal Dressage Show

I am happy to announce that with a game time decision, Hubby deigned to take Sunday off of work and come to the show with me. Not only does this mean that he didn't get murdered when I got home, it also means I have tons of media. Frankly one of those things makes me more pleased than the other, and it involves ponies not death.

because we all need more pictures of his glowing white tail.
maybe less pictures of me sitting like a goon.

Last week was a never ending shit show of Things. By the time Saturday evening rolled around and I still needed to ride my horse, bathe and braid, clean my tack, pack my trailer, and do the barn for someone else, I was in full twitch mode. But it all eventually got done, and I was lucky with my rides times that I didn't have to be at the barn to get loaded until at least nine in the morning.

The drive through East Syracuse was slightly sketch as there's nothing like multiple lanes of merging weekend traffic in a major city with jersey barriers everywhere to make you feel claustrophobic. I was glad I had scouted the place out on Friday before hanging out at the hunter show with my barn because it was a little tricky to get to, but we eventually made it without issue.

We got there early so Opie had plenty of time to get more practice with being tied to the trailer. He provided endless amusement for the Appy parked next to us who watched Opie's non-stop moving like, "Oh, youngster. Y U waste so much energy when you have the foods in front of your face? See me eat the foods in front of my face? Much better strategy." He was the cutest thing ever and his owner was awesome to talk with before she left.

angry donkey ears at the loose dogs cavorting behind him

Hubby and I ate our lunch before caving and taking Opie for a hand walk around the facility. This place was never-ending with two indoors, two outdoors, multiple barns, and a million outbuildings. We eventually settled in to watch a couple western dressage tests while Opie grazed.

With about thirty minutes until our first test I got dressed and Opie saddled at which point he went into his own twitching meltdown. I had time to spare so I flopped back down in my chair while our new trailer neighbors were like, wow so speshul.


Eventually he will learn that he doesn't always immediately get to do the thing as soon as the saddle goes on. Sad story, bro.

Training 1

Once I was on him he was his usual chill self and made the long walk up to the rings on the buckle. I learned from the last show that he doesn't need much warm up right now. He just goes in and gets to work. We're doing 20m circles as the fanciest thing right now--both at home and in the ring--so it's not like I've got a long list of things to run through with him.

so cute trit trotting around

Will he pick up the trot promptly? Will he give me both canter leads? Can I get him more balanced at the canter? The end.

The test:


He still puts his head right up and looks around at the halt which is fine. The focus will come. He also wanted to look around as soon as we trotted off and I was like, oh no. This whole test is going to be a bunch of staring at his adoring fans. Fortunately he got on board quickly and went to work.

You guys can still make fun of me for calling my baby horse worldly when he's left the property four whole times now, but it's true! The amount of improvement he had from last weekend to this one was insane. He went around like he lived in a dressage court and knew everything there was to know about doing a test.

Our lowest mark was a 6.5 which we only got twice--first for the transition from left lead canter to trot which are always suspect, and then for the free walk which is fine because stretching is not really in our wheelhouse right now and the free walk in this test is super short. Everything else as a long line of 7s, a few 7.5s, and an 8 for the medium walk. He finished with a 70.87%

Hubby said Opie had a bunch of groupies on the rail drooling over him the whole test. Of course he did. Look at him--he's adorable.

"i see you, fan club.
i see everything because i have the focus of a gold fish."

Training 3

We had forty five minutes until our next test so I pulled his bridle and attempted to graze him back at the trailer. That involved walking around me in circles so I tied him again and ignored him while I hydrated/drank Mnt Dew and ate Red Vines.

I tried to initiate some stretching at the trot in our warm up for the second test, but it's barely there on a good day at home so it didn't magically appear at a show. Other than that I checked to make sure the left lead was there as he's been giving me some shit about it (it was), and then walked it out while we waited. He's such a quitter I didn't want to give him any excuse to throw in the exhaustion flag.

worldly horse figured out the standing quietly ringside game from one weekend to the next.
also i think i'm going to pull the top of his tail. thoughts?

The test:


Yeah, sooo he didn't want to leave X... Maybe the judge thought I was just taking a bit longer to compose myself and missed the poke-poke of my spurs trying to get my fucking horse to move because we got a 7 for the first movement.

We got a bunch of 6.5s mixed in with the 7s for this test as once again he got a little tired which made him heavy and tighten up some. Our stretchy circle was a joke (5)--no surprise there though as I know right now it's a write-off movement until we get better at it at home. That will take some more strength and relaxation, and that will all come eventually.

You can see me getting creative asking for the canter as I could feel he wasn't totally with me, and I had to kind of knock him into them to get the correct leads. Again, that's a known weakness that we're working on so that's fine.

look at that hind leg doing the thing.
don't look at me doing the thing. i don't know what that thing is.

We finished and the judge called me over. She hadn't called anyone else over to give feedback and I was instantly like, "Oh dear lord. What have I done wrong now?" Because Bobby has given me dressage judge PTSD where I only get called over for them to tell me sorry my horse is a psycho, better luck next time or maybe just quit dressage.

Fortunately that wasn't the case here!

plz don't yell at me, judge lady.

She told me that she thought Opie was a lovely horse. She told me that repeatedly. Her comments were that, as is typical with OTTBs, he gets tight in the canter and hollows his back off and on. She thought it was making me ride a little crooked (I refrained from telling her that I was trying to combat motorcycling and being crooked is my answer because the ammy is strong in me), and at times he got braced and looked uneven. She assured me he's not actually off, he just needs to be more supple.

She also told me to work on the stretchy work, and just keep on doing what I'm doing. Take the time, the strength will come, and he'll put it all together and be very nice.

does not like to stretch. likes to keep his neck short like his little legs.

Then she told me she'd called me over because she didn't want me to be discouraged by my scores as, again, she thought he was a really lovely horse. I thanked her for taking the time to pull us aside since she spent a good chunk of time talking things through with me, and braced myself for a high 50s score. When I picked up my test I literally LOLed when I saw she'd given us a 65.91%. I would have killed for that to have been a low score with Bobby at any level!

Overall another successful outing. I've now got four test sheets in hand to go over with BM to focus on where we can pick up more points. Once again, he came out with the same weak work he has at home so nothing new or exciting is popping up off property. I know I keep reiterating that, but it's such an amazing feeling not to have a tense ball of "Imma go flying across the ring because I can." when I get in the ring at shows. I feel like we're on the right track, and we now have three weeks until his first recognized show to get even better.

all the pats for the good kid

And, you know, maybe in that time I can learn to sit the fuck up?

34 comments:

  1. I always loved getting feedback about things I already knew were a problem, because it made me feel like we were at least marginally on the right track, haha. You and Opie look DOPE (#thattailtho) and I'm so excited that he's learning the ropes of getting out and about! 😁

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    1. It's so much less frustrating to hear the things you need to work on are things you know about instead of being like, actually my horse does know how to do all this he's just a fucktard. Not that I have any experience with the latter. ;)

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  2. How nice of her to call you over and make sure you knew what a good horse you had. That’s a judge who still cares about the sport.

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    1. She had some great feedback! She does a lot of dressage education type stuff in our area. I'd definitely like to ride under her again.

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  3. lol that little tap dance video at the trailer is oh yes so speshul haha. awesome scores tho! Opie really does look like such a clever little guy, he's clearly on the right track with you!!

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    1. Our trailer neighbor asked if I'd tried calming supplements for him. Um, no. He'd fall over in the ring for sleepy time if I did that! I can deal with trailer twitchiness for awhile until he learns better.

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  4. Red vines (& goldfish crackers)...the best horse show food. Another great show in the books! He’s a cutie!

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    1. So healthy and filling to sustain you for the day! :P

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  5. yes i would trim his tail a bit at the top (it is a bit large for sure :)) and great job at both tests and at not murdering the husband (YAY HE WENT) and for not murdering Opie at the trailer (You have the patience of a saint :) HA!

    he is really looking so much more consistent. I mean seriously I am in awe. And wow on the scores....he really is a looker and once he is not so special (HA) i can see you really raking in the points. :) And not leaning is HARD ugh ask me how i know!

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    1. That tail needs some fluff removal up top for sure. And leaning is the bane of my existence!

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  6. He is looking so good! Two outings back to back is sometimes super helpful to get their baby brains to understand showing really isn't any big thing. (I agree on trimming his tail as well!)

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    1. I think getting right back out there was good for him, and I think getting a few weeks off now will be just as good to let his brain have a little break so he doesn't get overwhelmed.

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  7. The little prancy-prance thing he was doing at the trailer was sooper speshul :) Great job in the tests!

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  8. Whoohooo!! What a fancy guy Opie is turning into! I still cannot believe that he hasn't been off the track very long, what a GREAT BRAIN. You guys are an amazing team, and I love all his personality!

    <3 Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian

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    1. He really is the easiest thing in the world!

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  9. You guys look AMAZING!!! I’d kill to have Katai be that relaxed at her first show of the year and she’s not nearly as green as Opie. He is really such a gorgeous boy :)

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  10. First and most importantly, I applaud your horse show diet of Red Vines and Mt Dew. That's what got me through my junior years. Perhaps I should bring those things back if I ever show again!
    I'm so happy for you. It's really exciting to read about Opie and his awesome brain at the horse shows. After your patience with Bobby, you really deserve to have a horse that also wants to dressage.
    I really can't believe how far you two have come in such a short time. Nice work, both of you!

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    1. I have to admit that my main horse show staple is a lunchable because I'm a grown up. Clearly. I make maybe not the best snacking choices on the go... :P

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  11. Super lovely tests! He's getting to be SUCH a pro!

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  12. Lol stretching down is about the only thing Cupid and I do well, the rest of the time he pretty much has his nose in the air and I'm tipping forward.
    I think it would bug me having the markers so far off the rail (but maybe it makes it harder for the judge to tell too??)

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    1. Yeah, I'm not sure what was going on with the letters. It made finding X a little tricky.

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  13. OMFG he is SO fancy!! Like the kind of fancy that you think "Oh, fancy baby horse that belongs to BNR/BNT who events at the 4* level and will go Advanced in the next month." - thaat kind of fancy.
    I don't think my mare has EVER EVER EVER had a moment of relaxation in the dressage ring like he showed BOTH ENTIRE TESTS.

    Girl - you deserve this guy, he's super and so are you.

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  14. What a sweet judge! And that's really awesome about consistency and having 4 tests to work forward from. Congrats to you both on another great weekend!

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  15. Awesome!! Congrats on another great outing for him, what a cutie!

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  16. Aww good pony. The following comment is meant kindly. Tell me to *f off if you want. I noticed that you are a long legged rider and it seems your saddle size isn't helping you or Opie. Perhaps you would care to read this article? I know its hard to find a big enough saddle that isn't too long for the horse. Please take this in the spirit it is intended. https://academyofdressage.com.au/fitting/

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    1. I think what you're seeing is just bad riding making the saddle look bad. ;)

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.