Sunday, July 3, 2016

Yet another Novice competition recap - Dressage

I feel like this 2016 season is flying by, yet I reflect back to our first event of the season at BN and am amazed at how forever ago it seems. So many things have changed some not as good, but most things for the better. The more we do all the things and do all the shows, the more I am learning...not only about showing and Tillie, but myself as a person.

Peaking out of the trailer after our go for the day and hanging out to watch our buddies!
Turns out, I am pretty damn confident (outwardly at least)...mostly its a face to pep talk myself. But also I am really super competitive with myself - Ill touch more on this later in this post. But I feel like the dialogue in my head is not super confident...mostly repeating "balance yourself mare!" over and over, but I do feel like that warp-like time speed thing when jumping is starting to become normal speed which allows me to process and make better judgements. I know its allowing me to be a smarter rider.

Like approaching the giant bench in a tree line expecting a questioning Tillie,
riding it more confident so she comes at it guns blazing.
All this repetition is allowing me to be a smarter rider BECAUSE we have been doing it and experiencing all the different ways to answer the questions being asked. The result is slowly chipping away and smoothing out some rough edges. Dont get me wrong, it isnt perfect, nor will it ever be, but I am really proud of the horse Tillie is becoming.

How we feel before stressage
It was a really early wake up call for this show since I knew the time between our dressage and jump rounds wasnt quite enough to untack, walk the courses, come back, stud and retack...If you have ever been to Fair Hill, you'll know its quite a hike to the jump portion of the event so I wanted to have more time to stud and be sure those were good with the ground being as rock hard as it was.

4:41 arriving at the barn

Even with really awesome stranger eventers offering us rides, I still felt a bit rushed and had just under 30 minutes to warm up for dressage. It sounds like a decent time, and at home it would be 10 min warm up 20 min working, but at a show Tillie gets unfocused and untrusting. She isnt bad, she doesnt misbehave or act up like she did a mere few months ago, but the best description is just protective and wont let her guard down. It is as if she holds her breath the entire time and lets it out right after we halt.

Almost done our test!!

I was pleasantly surprised with how she warmed up...and how quickly as well. It wasnt the horse I get at C lessons in dressage, but she was working well and working without soooo much help from me. She knew her job, would bending and listen to my aids willingly more so than any other show. Her canter warm up was flawless...I was a bit worried to push much more because she felt so great and comfortable. Sure, not 100% relaxed, but would go in whatever rhythm I put her in, bend off my leg and I didnt need nearly as much softening or half halts off my rein to get her attention.

Sneak peak at the final results...; ) and alllll the hay for the spoiled girl

While I dont think our dressage score of 30 reflected how happy I was with the test, I was thrilled. Tillie did pick up more tension once we got down to the ring (or I did)...but it sits slightly lower from warm up so she kept wanting to peek up there to see what was going on. It was never obvious, but she didnt want to work in the bridle as much this test. With that said, She was consistent. Something we have lacked in past tests, particularly in rhythm. I also felt like I was less micromanaging her and could leave her alone more.

Her canter in particular impressed me the most. It felt smooth...something it hasnt ever felt in competition before. I didnt feel worried about getting her back to trot and her trot after felt way more free and promising of what we may get in later competitions.

Anyway here is our test:

There is a lot more to like about this test. It was clean enough to get us into third - WHICH btw we were competing in the open division with only a handful of other riders one of which is my own trainer Dom Schramm who kicked all our butts with a 22!!! The 2nd place rider had a 29 and change followed by myself. So needless to say, I am really hopeful with  more dressage work we can be up there with the big guns!

While a 30 is still ok, I am determined to get us into the 20's more regularly (see the self competitive thing I mentioned earlier).  I am hopeful this will happen and know we have it in us. 

1 comment:

  1. You guys will get there. I think Tillie still has the same halter as Stinker :)