Thursday, August 23, 2018

Twin Rivers Classic - Day 2

Sunday dawned wayyyy too early for me. We had our ride at 7:30am so I had to be up at 4:30am to throw Jetta in the trailer and be on our way by 5am. Ugh. I am so not a morning person.

After I'd already been awake for far too long

I was super tired so Jetta got a minimal warm-up since she felt pretty much perfect. We went in and put in one of the best tests we've done recently! I was so, so happy with her effort and more than ok to end the show on that note. Previously I was bummed to not have 2 classes on each day, but I really couldn't afford it and it turns out that it worked out just fine! We ended up with a 67.8% which I was ecstatic about - last time this judge gave us a 64.8%. We got lots of 6.5's and 7's with several 8's - one for each halt, one for our free walk, and one for our canter-trot transition (AMAZING). We got a 5.5 on our right half circle because we didn't show any bend, and a 6 for our stretchy trot. We got all 6.5's on our collective marks with the comments "A bit stiff legged this morning, needs more suppleness and to bend right, obedient, just needs balance to relax muscles, rider needs shoulders more back and seat bones more forward to help balance." One of these days I'll get my equitation together.

And look up

Take aways from the show:
  • I still need to work on my position, but I'm happy with the improvement from the previous show
  • The stretchy trot it a huge weakness of ours, so we need to either fix it or hurry up and move to second level where we don't have to do it anymore! (jk... kind of)
  • The verbindend bit was a success - I felt like she was definitley not as over her back into contact as she could have been because of the bit, but I will take that over having my arms ripped out of the sockets
  • We need to figure out where our right bend went still
  • I'm thinking it might be time to do some flexions and see if it's time to think about joint injections or at least some Legend or Adequan. She doesn't look stiff to me in the video at all, but I'd like just to get an idea of if she's needing more joint management or not as she's never had the best hocks
  • We need to stop doing First 1 because no one else ever shows it, so it's cool to get first place ribbons and all, but it'd be nice to see how we stack up against other riders, so we need to work on our canter loop in order to show First 3!

Can't wait to see the proofs for the pro pictures, so I will post those when/if I decide to buy any!

We were the only one in 2 of our classes so we got cool stuff!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Twin Rivers Classic - Day 1

Surprise! I went to a show. And not just any dressage show, but a recognized show. You might remember our lackluster last show and how I was really bummed and thinking that a recognized show was just not going to be worth it for us. I really didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a recognized show only to not get any scores towards our bronze medal.

But then, our rides at home were really good. And I remembered the "magic bit" (Neue Schule verbindend snaffle). And I thought about how we've been at first level forever and I have never done a recognized show on Jetta and I just keep pushing that goal further and further back... So I signed up.

I immediately had buyer's remorse. What if I just wasted all that money? I'm perfectly happy doing league shows forever pretty much. And of course my rotation this month took me 2 hours from home so I was only riding Saturdays and Sundays (maybe with the occasional Friday). Would we be ready?

Long story short, it worked out well for us!
(warning: the BF attempted to take pictures. Key word attempted, but I appreciate his effort!)

Beginning of our stretchy trot

Luckily my rides on Saturday were in the afternoon, the first one being at 2:30pm. I had packed for the most part the previous weekend and cleaned all my tack on Friday, so I was able to leisurely pack the rest of the trailer, lunge and bathe Jetta, then drive to the show.

Of course, when lunging Jetta, she was being an absolute psycho and galloping around the arena with her tail in the air and snorting, resulting in the most epic wipe-out I've seen her do. She got up and trotted off like it was no big deal, but I was really worried that after standing on a trailer for an hour and a half, she'd realize that she really did hurt herself and be lame.

Anyways, when I first got on her in the warm-up arena she definitely felt stiff. Not quite lame per se and I didn't really know anyone around the arena at the time to ask and see what they thought. She ended up working out of it, so I'm not sure if her leg that she landed on when she fell was sore or if she was just stiff in general and the warm-up arena footing is a little bit hard or if she was a little bit footsore, etc. Overall, she felt normal after we had warmed up.

My goals for this show were to get 60's. Pretty low standards for me lol. But I also wanted to get no comments about me leaning forward or having flat hands, like last time. I was really disappointed in myself for those comments!

Our first test at First 1 was ok. I did ride in the verbindend to see how it went and I had a lot more control, especially in the canter. She still braced in one of the lengthened trots, which is weird because she only does it when we're going one direction, but not the other (doesn't matter if it's towards or away from the door, just when we go left to right across the diagonal). Overall, I felt pretty good about it. We ended up with a 62.2% with mostly 6.5's and a couple 5.5's - one for our stretchy trot, one for a lengthened trot, and one for a lengthened canter, and a few 7.5's for both halts and the medium walk. Our collective marks were all 6's with one 6.5 for rider's position and her remarks were "Capable team, work to improve her steady stretch to contact and develop more swing over her back. Have fun!"

The next test I decided to be a little bit more bold in our lengthenings since I felt like she wasn't bracing as much and we had worked at home to reduce the rushing a little bit (judges still say that it's rushed or running, but it feels oodles better than it was). I liked this test a lot in how it went - still a few bobbles, but definitely improved. We scored a 64.7% which I was happy with, mostly 6.5's with a 7.5 for our first halt and free walk, a 7 for both half circles, medium walk, and one of our canter circles. Again, a 5.5 on our stretchy trot, so we definitely need to work on that. Collective marks were all 6.5's with the comments "Fun team with bright future. Work to improve stretch over topline to contact in all work".

I definitely didn't regret signing up for this show, it was super fun and laid back, and Jetta was on her best behavior!

Stay tuned for day 2...

Monday, August 6, 2018

(Kinda) Back to Work

After our last show, Jetta has been kinda great. I was pretty frustrated with our rides at the show since I know we are both capable of so much better. My ride after the show we even ran through a test in full (which I never do) to see if there was any bracing happening like it happened at the show... There was none, she was soft and compliant the whole test.

This is definitely not a new problem. One of the last dressage shows we went to before Jetta got pregnant she was AWFUL - I felt like our whole test was basically a barely controlled bolt, she was running through and ignoring my aids. I walked out of the ring knowing we deserved a 50-something % and a low placing... then we miraculously pulled off a mid-60 score landing us in 2nd place. So obviously her being a freight train doesn't look as bad as it feels, but we're never going to be able to progress in our training if we don't get it under control.

But her neck is starting to muscle nicely!
Overall though, I feel like I finally have my pre-baby horse back, the one who is ready to school second level and everything. She's by no means perfect at home, but we're definitely improving. She's getting steadier in the contact, her trot feels really nice most of the time, and our canter-trot downward transition is kinda there. Two things we're struggling with right now, oddly enough, is our stretchy trot - Jetta is willing to stretch down, but kinda takes off - and our right bend disappeared. Not sure where it went, but I think it's a me thing, that I'm hanging on my outside rein too much, so we've been working on that. Our lengthened canter to working canter transition is still very resistant, so we're still playing with that a lot while trying to not let her get used to a big fast canter all of the time.

I haven't ridden her in the verbindend bit in a long time - I thought it might be our magic bit when I first bought it, but over time it was just a little too much bit for schooling at home. I put it aside to use possibly just at shows and then forgot about it. I pulled it back out again for the first time in forever and tried a ride in it and I'm not sure it was any better than the Myler. I think I need at least one more ride in it to decide if it's going to be a useful bit just to use in a show environment, so fingers crossed!

I'm trying to figure out how to budget some more shows into our schedule, but it's really hard since I'm not working right now and of course it's tough to schedule around 4th year rotations, but I'm hoping there'll be at least a couple shows in the books for us! Of course, I'm really wanting to ride lots right now since it seems we're on the upward swing in our training at the moment, but my rotation at the humane society is almost 2 hours away from home so I've been staying in the dorms which is a huge bummer. I miss my ponies, but I at least get to see them on the weekends!

Also, I went on this hike and it was amazing