Pretty in Pink

Another schooling show is behind us and Ike again continues to try his best.  We came home with two 5th place ribbons for our Training 1 and Training 2 tests.  This was a unique show because all the riders showing were grouped by their Virginia Dressage Association Chapter affiliation, their scores averaged, and then the chapters were placed.  I’m happy to report that my chapter placed second.  We have a small but talented group of riders and we all work hard to get the best out of ourselves and our horses.

Some might say that Ike and I should have done the Intro tests to pull higher scores to help the chapter, but I was wooed by our Training Levels scores at our last show.  I know good and well that we are still not confirmed with our canter transitions and our connection is not always solid.  The only way to improve is to go out there and try and try again.

Warm up was challenging.  Ms. C noted that Ike demonstrated his Hackney genes as he fired up in the warm up arena.  To try to achieve some focus and relaxation, Ike walked a circle around Ms. C for a good 20 minutes.  I finally whispered for a trot transition.  Ike attempted to listen, but again I had to down transition to dial down the energy.  We were lucky that a young rider friend was in warm up with her 20+ year old mount who had the “been there done that” attitude.  She kindly let Ike walk around the arena with Tyrone as a buddy.  We might have to hire them to come to all shows with us.  Ike was finally able to focus and warm up could proceed to trot and canter.

Our first test was Training 1.  This was the test where I wish we could drop our highest and lowest scores and average what remains…everything was spot on until it was time for our right lead canter.  Just as we started our circle at A, Ike was distracted by something/someone/a swallowtail butterfly.  That distraction caused him to shift his weight to the outside.  Try as I might I could not get him refocused or rebalanced.  The wrong lead.  Drat!  Down transition and try again.  Cross cantering.  %@##. One more down transition.  We got the right lead for maybe 3 strides.  Too little, too late.  We did recover enough to nail our centerline.  When we got our test back, there in print was our “2” for the transition and a “3” for the half circle.  Sigh, that hurt our bottom line.  61.667%.  If we try to focus on the good, Ike was spot on with everything else.  Even the judge made a final comment that things will get better once he develops more strength and can better engage the hind legs.

Time for our second test.  Deep breath.  I opted to carry the whip in my left hand in hopes to help with the right lead, but also knowing that it might backfire and cause problems with the other parts of the test.  The bell rang, so off we went down centerline with whip in hand.  Was this a brilliant test?  No.  That test was ridden by the winner of the class who got a 77% – I saw part of the ride and they were that good. Did I push to get that “8” trot?  No.  But we did nail both our canter transitions and the judge rewarded those with 7’s.  Final score was a 66.4%.

So why aren’t there any photos from yesterday?  Welllll, that would be because we forgot the camera.  Luckily, Pics of You were present and have already posted their photos at http://www.picsofyou.com/store/index.php?do=photocart&viewGallery=18413#page=1.  They were kind enough to edit out the right lead canter fiasco.

Big man earned his day off today and enjoyed a handful of mints from his appreciative owner.  His newest ribbons are proudly hanging with all his others.

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