Thursday, June 13, 2013

In which we get our dressage on

Had a great event at Plantation (prior entry) and know we have a bit to work on xc and quite a bit to work on in the dressage.  While the xc schooling at Plantation was cancelled due to yet more torrential rain (not to mention tornado watches about the time I would have been on course), the dressage schooling show at Blue Goose was still a go.  Thanks to David and Rachel, I got entered at First Level Tests 1 and 2.  USDF dressage tests.  For all you eventers, the First Level Test 1 has many of the same moves as the training level eventing test A including 15 meter canter circles, canter lengthening on the long side, stretchy trot circle, and canter change at the end of the diagonal after trotting at X.  1-2 adds some leg yield and 10 meter half circles  and has a bit more complexity.

I headed out from the office and arrived at show (where the amazing BHF team had already brought my horse and tack).  I spent the first hour wandering around to pay, change, brush Keegan, etc. all while participating (and carefully muting in between speaking) in a work conference call (technology has its advantages).  I got on Keegan once the call concluded and warmed him up with Missy's help (and Jamie's supervision).  The major reminders:

  1. keep his speed steady (neither slower nor quicker) when turning
  2. keep my right hand up when doing downward transitions
  3. Quit with the leaning forward into canter transitions!!!!
  4. Focus on keeping my seatbones connected to the saddle in the canter
  5. soften when he is good (which is more and more common)
I headed over for the 1-1 test and, aside from puddle dodging (really - you're an event horse and you need to avoid small puddles in the arena), he was quite good.  His trot lengthenings still aren't, but he does go forward a bit more and then quietly comes back.  At the end the judge asked me why I chose to do this test.  When I told her it was because of it being close to the training level eventing test, she said she had guessed as much, but for this level in dressage, he needs to be much more engaged and stretched over his topline.  We are working on this.  At least she didn't think he was behind my leg and did compliment his obedience.  Off we went to continue warming up after watching Laura Faulkner's lovely Fenway Park do his test (he has a very nice trot lengthening). We worked in the field by the trailer, practicing some 10 meter half circles, a few straigh steps, then leg yield as well as more trot lengthenings and canter transitions.  Then back into the ring.  By this time, I had been on him for an hour.  Being Keegan, he was cheerful and as willing to go forward as ever.  Apparently, he was also much more engaged and stretched over his back (which was what the judge told me at the end of the test saying it was much better). I tried hard to keep my right hand and shoulders up throughout and think I was a bit better (my rider score did improve).  He also splashed right through the puddle, apparently having decided there were no allligators in it.  Our leg yield right, first transition downward from lengthen to working canter and our second trot lengthening were not so good, but everything else really was - even garnering a couple of 8s, including one for the final halt.  And, wait for it......even with two of our bad scores being x2, we scored a 69.7!!  Pretty much my best score ever (and much better than the 61.4 on the first test.  We scurried back to the trailer to avoid a cloudburst and then watched Brigitte do a very nice test on Margarita before heading back to Blue Hill. 

I love my off the track TB and see longer dressage warm-ups at events in our future.

1 comment:

Robby Johnson said...

Hooray! I love your TB too ... because he makes you happy. And I like happy! :D