|hands down the sweetest person ever, and she|
consistently went out of her way for everyone to grab
some candid shots when she had time. i love how pleased
this kid looks after his first test of the weekend.
Oof, getting out the door at 3am for the second day in a row was tough. The one good thing was that both mornings had the most amazing displays of heat lightning illuminated by bright moonlight for the entire drive down topped off with gorgeous purplely sunrises.
Gotta find the small wins, you guys. Because my old ass needed a nap by about nine in the morning.
Our rides times on day two were also bumped up by an hour, but we actually had a gorgeous 75* and windy day. My 7:24 first ride was downright pleasant. Dopie felt much more settled coming off the trailer and had his #childgenius cap on instead of his tweaker pants.
Confident the brain was in there, I only gave him fifteen minutes for warm up and it was plenty. I ended on a good spot and asked the ring steward if the rider before me had scratched--I knew her and hadn't seen her anywhere. The office said she hadn't, and no one else had been told she was scratched, but she wasn't in any of the warm ups so I went out the gate steward and they radioed that I was going to take her spot since she wasn't there. They sent me in and around the ring we went....over and over and over.
|the light at 7am made for great pics in the indoor warm|
up, but it was also literally blinding while riding.
The show organizer had gone to the judge to make sure she knew who I was, and for whatever reason that caused much chaos to untangle. I don't know why. I do know my old ass did not appreciate all that extra sitting trot.
(don't watch if you get sea sick. i think hubby was in the midst
of seizure during this one.)
Opie didn't feel quite as soft or forward for this test, and that directly lends itself to bouncing around off the contact more. He definitely had a more difficult time with the lateral work this morning as well, and our steady 6 and 6.5s from Saturday got deservedly knocked down to 5s and 5.5s. The walk work--even the TOH-- are usually a given, but he got quite stuck in both of those and that really crushed us with 4s. That was a big bummer because we got 7s on them the day before.
|showing off that lovely neck|
The canter work came back with a solid line of 6s even though it didn't feel great. The second counter canter serpentine I had to hold back a laugh as I finished, and talking to a friend who watched afterwards we were both like, "WOW THAT WAS SPESHUL." The balance started to careen out of control and--if it looks bad in the video, it's nothing compared to how it really went down--I had to half yank him over to finish the turn without falling over. And we almost fell over anyway. The judge's comment was "struggling on counter loop". Good lord, yes. Yes we were.
The last three movements were 7s though, and he actually scored a 7 on gaits. Her overall comment was: Needs steadier contact, but capable pair. Work to establish a supple, balanced connection. We finished with a 58% for third, actually beating people--multiple people!
|there are moments in there where he looks like a real second level pone, and|
not a 6yo, 18 months off the track pone
I was marginally bummed that we didn't pull a 60% out of this judge since my 61% from the day before was from the judge I already had a score from. We have allll next year at Second though, and I was so proud of my green bean for keeping his shit together and doing the thing. All his problems are just greenness and strength issues. He's perfectly capable, it just needs to grow up to score better. I'm not mad at that.
|when you halt square but you have side eye for everyone|
Our second test of the day wasn't until 2:28. It was a LONG FUCKING DAY. I got on earlier than I needed to in hopes that it would make the time feel like it was going faster. Nah. No such fucking luck. I chatted with the final rider of the day as we waited to close out the show, and with one rider in front of me, I got Opie going really well. He nailed the warm up. I didn't want to dial in this First test again, and really wanted to finish out the weekend knowing I had tried my best for a good score.
We got one lap around the ring before the judge rang the bell right as we passed A. Have I mentioned how much I hate when they do that? Because I really hate when they do that. I got all flustered and had to make a wonky short turn around and headed in with a trot I wasn't happy with. The judge was cool with it and gave us an 8 to start, but the rest of the test was again solid 6s and 6.5s with a 7 for the walk and a 4 for picking up the wrong canter lead.
Those quick transitions in Second get Opie paying attention and ready to roll, so he kept trying to step right back into the canter after the trot at X. He got kind of jiggy and after being shut down several times, he was all twisted up and didn't get the correct lead. I got it corrected and went right into the lengthened canter for a 6.5. Never get stuck on one movement, folks!
|not being able to braid his forelock made him pretty cute actually|
Final comment: Steady, obedient and balanced. Could see more elastic and expressiveness in the gaits. Good luck. A 62+% put us in fourth in another big class which left us with a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th for the weekend. This made my rainbow ribbon heart happy.
Overall, while maybe the scores weren't as high as we've gotten in the past or that we're capable of, I'm totally calling this show a success all around. I felt like I rode four clean tests for the first time all year. There weren't any mistakes were I came out mad at myself for being a fucking idiot, or mad at my horse for not stepping up and participating.
I'm also glad I was able to get video so everyone can see that you don't need a fancy horse or to even be a particularly talented rider to participate at this level. I'm all about spreading the word of mediocrity, yo. Not that you should be delusional about your abilities--I'm the first to admit I'm a floppy weakling--or that you shouldn't be trying to train your hardest or as correctly as you can--because I do both of those things--but dressage doesn't need to be taken so seriously. (Waits for a post to come out about how dressage/training/riding should be taken super seriously because this is super serious business and you're doing your horse a super serious disservice if you ever score below a 65%.)
|can't wait to work more on bringing that balance back this winter|
I'm not saying settle. I am saying go the fuck out there and try the thing. Go have fun if it makes you happy. Judges will reward you everywhere they can, and the majority of them are going to give you some great comments on how to improve your weak areas.
In the meantime, Dopes and I are going to suffer through enough First tests to pick up some scores for our GMO year end awards, and keep plugging away at 2-3 so that next year it feels easy fucking peasy. But first we're gonna do some more napping.
|always a pat for this side eye king|