Monday, July 1, 2019

Sundman Stables Show and Tell

Well, we made it into the ring so...success!

Nah, it wasn't that bad at all. A bit sloppier than I was hoping for, but such is life when you can't be bothered to measure out a dressage court at home--something I'll probably do this week in between training hard trail riding--and get a wee bit spastic on how to ride in a real arena.  And actually, the last time I was at this facility was many years ago with Bobby also doing one of his first attempts at Second. Opie was green and we had some mistakes, but guys, he didn't take the chains of the court for a ride with him.

#bobbyproblems

i have absolutely no media so enjoy this tack cleaning snoot

I gave Opie a ten minute spin on Saturday because it was horribly hot and disgusting. He was fine, he felt as good as he was going to get. Sunday was much cooler with clouds and a breeze, and he came off the trailer kind of a tweaker. I let him have a good hand walk all around to snoot things, and by the time I got on he was completely settled. Only he was a little too settled, and I ended up never getting him jazzed back up enough to where he felt inspired to put forth any effort whatsoever. That warm up happy medium is going to take some trial and error.

Test 1

We got to go right into the court to make a couple laps for warm up as the ring wasn't large enough to fit a standard court and still have room to make a lap around. I shoulda woulda coulda used this opportunity to run through some movements and make sure I was comfortable with my geometry, but instead I tried to get Opie to wake up. He did not.

He headed down center line simultaneously tight but lazy, and reeled off a long line of 6s with 5.5s for the travers for not enough angle--I actually almost forgot to put him into it coming off my first 10m circle so well done me. That's rider error, and I can easily ask for and get more angle in those so an easy enough fix there for the future.

The halt, rein back, and turn on the haunches were all 6.5s. I know that fucking halt can score way better, but someone halted and then immediately periscoped to gawp at the horse in the round pen just behind the ring. The rein back itself was fluid and obedient though, and the comment was, "halt distracted, rein back submissive."

8s for the walk because obvi, and then 6 and 6.5s for the canter with 5.5s for the simple changes were that one trot step wasn't eradicated. A 4 for the final serpentine where he broke when the horse started banging on the round pen which was way more exciting to pay attention to than me, and then a 7 for the final halt.

the bad horse halter came out for the morning.

So! Lots of varying scores, but I'm pleased with her scoring and her comments. One thing I didn't want was fluffed up schooling show scores that gave me no real idea of how this test would score later this month in front of a real judge. While she might have thrown me an extra half point here and there (she gave us 6s for our perfectly acceptable lengthenings/non-existent mediums which was generous), she wasn't like, "You tried, here's a 7!" The final score for the first run through was a 62+% My only goal for the rated show is to eek out one single, solitary 60%. Clean up the mistakes, bring in a more focused horse, and I think that should be attainable.

The Clinic

We had about ten minutes to talk over the test and troubleshoot any problems. The judge is the head dressage coach at Cazenovia College. She was super fun and positive to ride with, but more than anything she was obsessed with Opie. I told her right off the bat that he was young, neon green to the level, and that his main problem was tension in the ring because I have a very different, softer horse at home. I know the medium trot is nonexistent and am not worried about it right now. What I hoped to get out of this was any tips on how to get him to relax a bit more over his topline.

She put me on a 20m circle at the posting trot and had me flex him back and forth a bit, leg yield out  couple steps, and bring him back and forth a bit. The end.

He got softer-ish I guess, but he wasn't any different than the horse I have in warm up. Really most of the quick session was nonstop gushing over Opie. He's got a great hind end, he's got the gaits, oh my lort that walk, he can do the movements, he's so lovely, he's so nice, he's going to be super, etc etc. I ain't mad to hear that, y'all, but I guess I just thought I'd get a little more out of it.

she clearly wasn't sassed with any of this side eye

I understand that it was a super short time period, but I was hoping to at least work in the sitting trot. She told me overall she wanted to see him more round and less braced. We wrapped up there and went in to do it all over again.

Test 2

This test actually went worse than the first one. He felt more tight and those 6s became 5.5s. The canter was a hot mess of him anticipating, and while he held the counter canter for the serpentines, he broke coming off the first medium canter, and then screeched to a halt in the second simple change before launching into the canter--at which point I halted him myself and made him stand for a second before walking a few steps and picking it back up calmly. I definitely used this test more of a schooling ride where a couple times I could have pushed him through and carried on, instead I made a very obvious correction. These scores count for nothing, so might as well use my time the way I need to.

We ended with a 60%--so I guess still what I was looking for even with the drama. Her final comment was that he "needs more suppleness over topline to fulfill the demands of this level." YEAH I KNOW.

that topline is plenty supple when begging for candies.
for real tho, he's looking awfully beastly lately.

Overall, it was worth the $50 just to get to ride the test twice in front of a judge in a really nice ring. I didn't get any bad or confusing feedback, and the comments and scoring were plenty to work with. Plus Opie was back home and out with his buddy before noon which doesn't leave a lot to complain about!

Now I just have to decide whether or not I want to do this fucking show Saturday. My ride times are next level dreadful and the weather is looking like it wants to be shit. Plus some idiot signed up for all three First tests. Don't do benadryl and fill out entry forms, kids.

29 comments:

  1. Disappointing that the clinic part wasn't more helpful. But it sounds like a decent day overall. I hope the forecast changes and you can have a great show next weekend!

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    1. I almost hope it storms its balls off so I can better justify not going. I just really don't wanna have my first ride time at 5pm and still have 2 more tests to do!

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  2. I get that being supple over the topline is important in a test but getting it seems like the holy grail at this point. The judge might as well write : use more eye of newt and repeat ‘wingardium leviosa back’. It sounds like Opie is doing well though

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    1. 😂😂 but really tho!

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    2. I would pay to get those comments phrased exactly like that LOL!

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  3. Experience away from home is experience away from home. Sounds like a positive outing overall, and good baseline if nothing else? Bummer you didn't get more time to work with the judge, but glad it wasn't a waste of time.

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    1. It was definitely good to get to school the test in a no-pressure atmosphere before what will be a super high pressure one.

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  4. I'm glad that overall it was a good experience. I remember my first time out at 2nd on my self trained horse earned us high 50's. Starting out in the 60's is fantastic!

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    1. I was always more than happy with my high 50s at Second with Bobby! My little ocd heart just wants that second 60% at the level towards my bronze asap.

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  5. Hey, you got good feedback, Opie didn't kill anyone, and no one fell off- sounds like a success to me!
    Also, I feel like Shoulda Woulda Coulda could be the title of just about every blog post I ever write. Though it would make a pretty hilarious show name too.

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    1. Ugh, for real. This is Shoulda Woulda Coulda and his half sibling Hindsight.

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  6. I mean he is cute, but for real some actual feedback would be great. Lol

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    1. If only cuteness could give us better scores!

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  7. I've only done one ride-a-test clinic and it was VERY helpful. I'd like to do another, but I recognize that not everyone is going to be able to solve major issues in <30 minutes.

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    1. I was looking more for any tips on defusing tension than completely overhauling my ride/horse.

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  8. Ugh yeah "ok thanks for telling me what I already know" re: him needing to be rounder and less tense. Sorry that the clinic part wasn't more helpful, but hey more practice before the rated show~

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    1. It was worth it just to get to ride the test twice.

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  9. Bummer she couldn't have given you at least one exercise to use to help get him supple over his back and minimize some of that tension. Ah well. At least you got to practice it twice is a good way to look at it.

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    1. I was able to snag a few things from the session after me, so that was good!

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  10. Sorry the clinic part wasn’t so helpful but I don’t know. I’d pay someone $50 to spend 10 minutes gushing about how lazing my horse is. Generally all I get is 10 minutes about how difficult they are and all the homework we need to do. LOL!!

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    1. I would happily pay a $50 bribe for every show to have the judge say nice things about my horse lol.

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  11. Do the show and knock them all dead with #ChildGenius. I say that knowing I don’t have to memorize and ride three separate tests 😂

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    1. I have never even ridden one of the tests I signed up for, too. I'm really not sure which one of my personalities thought that was a good idea!

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  12. "Yeah I know my horse is amazing but what about fixing our problems?" Sheesh judge. Not much of a clinic there.

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    1. He'd be more amazing if he wasn't braced AF, judge!

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  13. He looks AMAZING. It's too bad peppermints in the ring aren't an approved aid.

    (I think Opie is honestly the only TB I follow in blogland that makes me actually covet one. At all. :P)

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    1. Catch me on the right day and he's all yours. ;)

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  14. Congrats on the 2nd level debut!! Sorry the clinic didn't go as planned, but at least you got to play around in the sand box!

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    1. Fuck knows I can use all the trips around a ring I can this year. Someone cannot ride a mistake free test to save their lives! #itme

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