My first test was mid-morning and my second was mid-afternoon so we left a couple hours earlier Sunday than we had the day before. I got to the barn to get Bobby ready and he was already looking tired. It was unfortunately quite a bit hotter and more humid this day with none of the breeze from Saturday, and all that hit at the same time for poor old Robert.
I let Bobby have a nice long stretch down at the trot for warm up, not asking him to do much more than stay on the bit and go forward. He felt a little stiff and sluggish, but it was hot and he'd missed turnout the day before so nothing unexpected. In hindsight though, I should have concentrated on getting every last ounce of him for this test knowing it was the one we had a better chance of getting our needed score for. Oh, well. I'm saving all this information up for next year!
As I was circling the ring to go in, my reins were slipping through my fingers like my hands were wide open. I'd reached down to pet Bobby's neck just before the test before mine finished and I'd inadvertently coated my gloves in a fresh application of fly spray. I stopped Bobby for a second and started to wipe them on my breeches before realizing that wasn't the best idea and scrubbed them on my saddle pad instead.
|i like that hubby captured the exact moment i was like, fuuuuccckkkk.|
It didn't really work all that well and I felt like I was constantly shortening my reins the whole test though watching it back it doesn't seem that bad.
Bobby was a sleepy, sleepy pony for the whole test. I was really getting after him to go more forward but all that seemed to translate to was him not looking completely comatose. The judge Sunday was a lot more willing to use all the numbers while scoring, and I think she was very fair. She wasn't going to give points away, but she wasn't going to kill you on things either. Most of her comments were along the lines of needing more energy and engagement which were obviously spot-on for this test.
Still mostly 6s and 6.5s which is honestly about what Bobby is at shows (You're a real 7.5 at home Bobby, don't worry.) with a couple of 5.5s for things like the travers that she wanted to see more bend in both ways and the first medium trot.
We did get a 4 for the first medium canter because Bobby double pumped behind once, but let's be real--he didn't lose his shit and go sideways so #winning. He did throw down an 8 final halt.
Final comments were that he needs to be more supple in the lateral work, and she wanted to see more elasticity off the ground, but "some promising moments". Sadly it was too quiet of a test to sneak into the sixties and instead we got a 58.97%--so close! It was good enough for second place, and when I walked back to the trailer with my giant red ribbon Hubby was like, "Oh, wow! How many were in your class? Two?" Harhar, thanks Hubby. There were six, thank you very much!
|fuck yeah being all uphill and thrusting and stuff.|
I dug good old Mr Tappy out of my dressing room for 2-3 warm up. We were going to be forward, and we were going to get that second score, damn it! Then I walked into the warm up and Bobby was heavy as shit and uninterested in anything. Tappy tappy from Mr Tappy? Yeah, whatever. At that point I resigned myself to no second score and instead went to work trying to look remotely acceptable.
Lots of transitions and forcing Bobby to just go forward finally got him looking alive, and we moved to the indoor to finish of warming up. I knew I'd want to stop moving just long enough to throw my coat on and head directly into the ring so Bobby wouldn't pass out on me, and that's exactly what I did. I handed Mr Tappy over to Hubby (not wanting Bobby to realize how offensive he usually finds it mid-test) while I stuffed my sticky arms into my jacket, took a swig of water, and marched in.
Losing Mr Tappy lost us all forward momentum. I don't know that I should have kept it because I can see Bobby suddenly losing his shit and not getting it back just because I was holding it, but it did really help in warm up. I think what happened was I nailed the best riding in the last five minutes of warm up, and those five minutes should have been our test instead. He was just done by the time we got into the ring.
We got a 6 for the first movement because he drifted moving off from the halt, and then three 5s and 5.5s in a row for a sorry medium and shoulder-in. The rest of the test was a mix of 6s and 5.5s because of what the fuck he's doing with his mouth. You notice it right away as he comes around the corner from the first medium, and it never really lets up.
|hello there, mr tongue|
Last week he got his tongue over the bit every day for three rides in a row. I don't know why or how he suddenly figured out that was a thing, but he chose to whip it out in our final test as well. He's never, ever done it before, and it was so bad the judge actually called me over to comment on it after our test saying she felt bad for me that the test kind of fell apart after the walk because that's when it was the worst, but that I did a good job managing him through it.
He wandered around in the first medium canter before breaking at the end of the long side because such drama, so horse. "Comes off aides, loses forward. Unclear transition." I gave him a scratch and carried on. He was fine for the serpentine because Bobbys love counter canter, but then lost it again in the simple change. I honestly wasn't even sure I was going to get him back for that one, but I finally convinced him to canter once we hit the rail. "Insecure, takes too long." I think that was the last super noticeable meltdown, and we even got thrown a 7 for our trot transition.
She ended with this snort-worthy comment:
And a final score of 56.22% and fourth place which sadly was plenty fair. Hey, at least I still beat people?
|posing with ribbons is bobby's fave thing ever.|
Overall I'm actually pretty happy with how the weekend went. It might have been more of a learning experience than a competitive experience, but for our first year doing fancy dressage shows I think it gave me a lot of good ideas on how to manage my rides, and what I'm going to need to do to get the best out of my horse next year.
Plus giant ribbons. Always a good thing.