You already know that I had a bad experience with the judge, but honestly the whole show was a let down. I volunteered at the first show in our GMO's series, and it was well organized, well run, and well attended.
This show...was not so much any of the above. I think they got quite a good crowd for the lower of the lower levels (Intro, Training, and First), but there were only a few other Second riders with me and one Third rider.
I waited patiently for an email that contained ride times, and when that never came, I religiously checked WNYDA's page up until Friday--the show was on a Saturday. I ended up hounding the organizer/secretary to get my ride times and finally got her to cave and email them to me directly late Friday morning after she insisted they were posted on the farm's facebook page. (I never did see them posted there.) I had a friend who was also there competing, and she didn't get her times until nine that evening.
The barn was easy to find, but when I got there, there was no direction on where to park which admittedly is pretty hit or miss at any show. I crept past a few trailers and finally angled into a spot in the field behind the barn, figuring someone could come and tell me to move if I wasn't in the right area.
I got out, opened Bobby's door so he could scope out the scenery without screaming and pawing because he felt like he was locked in the trailer, and went to find someone to check in with. After wandering around a bit, I finally just asked someone in the barn where to go. "Oh, there's no check in--or numbers! Just go in and do your test."
Ohhhkay. I guess I can do that.
|we played outside all week after this show.|
Since I'd gotten there early, I went down to the ring and talked with my friend A for a bit to see how her tests had gone. She'd scored a 60% and a 67% for Intro A and B which she was happy with, but then she started telling me about the comments the judge had marked on her test. For Intro, this judge was wanting the mare to sit more. She also told A that the mare's neck was being carried much too low. A was riding a draft mare. Her neck must have been put on upside down to get that comment. We laughed it off and chalked it up to schooling show judges, and I went to get on Bobby to warm up.
There was no ring steward at either the warm up (in the indoor at the top of the hill) or the competition ring, so I kept an eye out from the indoor and waited until most of the people milling around had dispersed, figuring a thinning crowd meant my ride time was near.
Bobby was steady and obedient warming up. We ran through a couple of the movements from the test--shoulder-in, travers, a couple medium trots--and timed our walk down to the ring just as the rider before me was leaving and the rain started coming down.
|bobby was soft and fluffy the whole time, happy to be back in jump tack.|
As we entered at A, I realized C was a good three feet to the left of the center line, so I sort of crossed my fingers and kept riding straight at the judge and hoped that I wasn't going to get some weird penalty for not being straight. Fortunately that seemed to be the right thing to do, and we got a whopping 6 for our first halt. Straight entry, needs more uphill balance.
The first medium was forward, but it was forward in a flailing, legs going everywhere way. Bobby's not naturally a particularly fancy horse, and he's got pretty shitty conformation, but he can wing his legs out there in a sort of flashy manner when he gets trucking. The problem is that his answer to everything he doesn't understand is tension, and that obviously messes up the quality of the movement.
I schooled him long and hard over the medium trot the day before because he'd stopped giving me any effort at all for awhile. Mr Tappy came out, there was much snorting and sweating and swearing, but in the end he remembered what my leg was for and was going.
During the test, he moved right off when asked, but it wasn't relaxed, and very quickly the big trot started coming apart at the seams. The legs were still being flung out a mile in front of him, but he was getting long, downhill, and pulling the reins out of my hands. Flashy to the untrained eye, but not a whole lot of fun to sit and any judge was going to see right through it.
Things all apparently went downhill from there, and I wonder it that first trot made a bad impression and the judge just decided there was going to be no coming back from it...even if the movement was okay. (Shoulder-in right: Good connection to outside rein. 5.)
Bobby was bad in the simple changes. I cued for the walk too hard and he actually came to a halt instead. I panicked and legged him on, hoping he'd just go into the canter instead since he immediately halted and started swinging sideways. He was extremely offended by my unclear aids and pulled a classic Bobby, flying halfway across the ring before going forward sideways at some sort of tranter before finally getting back to the canter at A. I rode the second change better, but he anticipated doom and disaster and other Bobby things, so he went ahead and flailed around quite a bit more.
Overall we got such constructive comments as: crawling, absolutely not uphill, establishing resistance instead of connection, etc. Her end comment was "This level requires far more uphill balance than anything you've shown. Go back to basics before you come back to this level." The highest score on the test was a 6.5 for rider position.
Obviously I didn't know anything she'd written when I left the ring, and while I knew we were going to be marked down severely for the complete lack of simple changes and ensuing tension in the canter work, I thought everything else was steady enough. Nothing exciting, but nothing to be ashamed of.
I jumped off and stood in the pouring rain ringside for half an hour until my next test as Bobby gets pissed when he goes back to the trailer and thinks he's done, but then he has to come back and do more dressage. Since there was no ring steward and the times weren't posted, I didn't really know how many riders were in front of me, so I got back on when there was one rider finishing her test and no one else was around. Two other people ended up coming down though, so I walked Bobby around the field and let him eat grass to try to alleviate any Bobby anger.
We got an impressive four 6s on this test! The first halt (straight entry), the first turn on the haunches (maintained rhythm), the walk to canter transition (obedient), and the collected trot transition before turning down centerline (needs to come through). We also got sixes down the board for collective marks except for another 6.5 for rider position.
Bobby was once again a tool for the simple changes, though there was slightly less flailing on this test. The problem once again was with the canter throughout. He was fine picking up the canter, but the second I asked him to open up his stride for the medium, he was like, "OK BAI GO FUCK YOURSELF BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN CANTER."
He was so, sooo tense and locked up that I rode the world's most conservative counter canter serpentines to try to mitigate a full blown Bobby melt down. It was during this movement that I could hear the judge laughing as I looped around the ring.
When I got done with the test, she called me over. "Do you know what a serpentine looks like? Do you know how to ride that movement?"
I told her yes, I did, but I was trying to control my tense horse to keep him from performing the same theatrics he was showing in the changes.
"Do you know what that movement is supposed to ride like?" She whipped out a diagram and held it up to me. "Three equal loops, right? You were practically on a diagonal, and honestly your horse is a saint for even allowing you to do that. I don't know how he held the lead."
I nodded, thanked her for her time, and left the ring.
MY HORSE IS A SAINT?! DID YOU NOT SEE HIM SHOOTING ACROSS THE RING LIKE A FUCKING LUNATIC EVERY TIME I ATTEMPTED TO CHANGE THE LEAD?! YOU GAVE ME FOURS FOR ALMOST EVERY MOVEMENT IN THE CANTER. SURELY YOU TOO SAW THE TENSION HE WAS CARRYING. SORRY I WAS TRYING TO MANAGE MY HORSE AND MY RIDE RESPONSIBLY AT A FUCKING SCHOOLING SHOW.
Maybe I'm just a big fucking child, but I was upset when I got back to my trailer. I shoved all the cookies down Bobby's throat to make myself feel better, and because I really did--and still do--think that for our first time out at Second, minus the dramatics in the canter, we did fine.
I understand that the judge can only score us on what she sees that day, and what she saw was a horse that couldn't do simple changes and who got very tense and locked up during the canter. BUT I'M STILL GOING TO WHINE BECAUSE THIS IS MY BLOG AND I CAN.
I picked up my tests quickly since I was the last ride of the day, and almost threw them away when I saw the scores. 49.74% for 2-2 and 51.59% for 2-3.
I wasn't the only one competing at this level, and with those scores I WON both tests.
Which is just LOL, right?
I didn't even open the tests all weekend, and when I handed them to BM to look over she was like, "Well....I mean....I wish I could say there's some good stuff to pull out of here to use, but.... Seriously though, how much collection does she want to see at this level?!"
So there is my very bad, no good, much whining, woe is me show post. I'm glad my next show went better because the whole two weeks after I pouted and told everyone I was only going to trail ride for the rest of my life because clearly I SUCK as a rider.
And yes. Everyone did tell me to shut up and get over myself. I have good friends who don't put up with such nonsense.