Thursday, May 28, 2015

DSRC Autumn/Winter Dressage Series; Day 2 of 3.

There was a little bit of pressure on for this weekend, especially for test two.

I had stated in my May goals that I wanted to ride well into my corners in my dressage test, and score above 65%. With that in mind, and armed with my Equicoach tips, I saddled up and prepared for my first test.

I gave Oscar a small feed in the morning with a dose of magnesium in it as he was a little flighty around the hose the day before when I hosed his legs. Grass is also sparse at the moment so he got a small haynet with baleage and hay mixed in- just to line his stomach and keep him chirpy for the day. I think feeding before a show is something I might try more often, I can't imagine operating on an empty tum and my horse seemed better for having something in his.

It seemed to do the trick as he was lovely, much better than last month in terms of not spooking. However, he got a bit of a fright from a clydie warming up beside him which meant for a bit of tenseness in the second half of the test. A couple of late transitions resulting from a lack of preparation on my behalf meant that we finished sixth in this test (1B), with a 64.84% - 0.16% shy of the 65% goal! On the plus side, our centre lines were better this time around. He wavered slightly just after G, so we only managed a 7 - but I was pretty happy with the more forward energy this time around.

Usually I trot the whole way around the arena and right after the judge beeps the horn will maintain the rhythm and enter from a trot. This time around, the judge beeped around B, and I down transitioned to walk. I lined up my entry from the walk and asked for trot right before entering the arena. The down transition was a last little chance for me to settle Oscar, and although it broke the trot rhythm and lovely working trot, our walk-trot transition is good enough that I can get away with doing this and not compromise the forward trot that helps get a straighter line.

Second test, 1D, was even better than the first. This surprised me for two reasons, there was more pressure from me to do well to achieve my goal of 65%, and Oscar had wound himself up being tied to the float for an hour. I thought our first test would have broken 65%, and when it didn't I began to get a little concerned.

I needn't have worried. Oscar appears to be finally settling in the dressage arena, so much so that he behaved impeccably in our second test. There are a few kinks to iron out, circle shapes and sharper transitions, but overall he is feeling less overwhelmed or bewildered or whatever he was feeling!... and more confident to go forwards. He was doing so well that I forgot myself for a minute and rode another course error!! Gahh! I've done two course errors in my life, both at the last two competitions. Let's not make a habit of it!

When the judge beeped me, I was so frustrated with myself I wanted to ride the centre line, salute and leave. However, I regrouped, focused on where I went wrong and we set off again.

We were one of the first combinations to go in this class, and so instead of waiting around I packed up straight away, thanked the organisers and left. One of L's clients had agreed to pick up my test sheet for me and snap chat it through.

About an hour later, she snapped my test through and I was absolutely stoked to see that we had beaten 65% and gotten 71.79% in the second test - with my course error! Woohoo! I was not expecting that score at all, despite my horse feeling really good in his test. That put us in second place, and earned us a blue rosette which the organisers kindly posted to me.

Our best mark was in test 1D, where we got a 9 for the centre line. Throughout the day I practised what Jane had suggested, focusing on the three outcomes from the show that I had anticipated earlier (one outcome was that I wanted to perfect our centre line). This method obviously works and I'm excited to see if it changes my show jumping nerves!

Now i'm feeling better about our dressage, I can start to focus a lot more on our show jumping!
Thank god for winter series' when you're as rusty as me!

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