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dressage show this last weekend

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  • dressage show this last weekend

    First show in almost 5 years where I just showed for me no kid students! My horse was a 5 year old 4 years ago and last thing we did was a rec event - the dressage test was consistent 6's and some 7s. But his canter at the schooling dressage shows always got a 5 when I was doing my best - his long walks were 8s. Everything else 6-7. Not bad for a 4-5 year old. Since then, he's been a tortured lesson horse. I took him back to do dressage with and no one else ride about 2 months ago.

    So this past weekend, his canters were 8s! Weird huh?

    We are just doing training level and hopefully can move up as soon as he gets more fit - he does beautiful canter loops and shoulder in - its like he is so ready to work and loves it.

    With the new tests - I like them. But does anyone find the stretchy circle-long walk sequences in Tests 1 and 2 sticky? I feel like its going to take a lot of practice to make that part flow and my horse is so smart - I have to do a lot of stretchy circles there when practicing the test so he wont anticipate. At the show I rode the first test real carefully and did not have enough forward to get a good stretchy on the circle because I was anticipating the transitons and then when I asked him for more stretch and to be forward - I felt like I was hitting the corner like its a wall. I felt like I lost his fluid ride there.

    Does anyone here ride them a specific way that helps keep fluid through it?

  • #2
    Congrats on a good show!!

    I took my 5 yo to his first show about a month ago and rode training test 1. It was his first time in an actual dressage arena, so he was tense and looky anyways, which didn't help things, but we did almost have a blooper in the same part of the test you struggled with. I had very carefully schooled the canter to trot to stretchy trot transitions (he's an ottb and I wanted to make sure we understood about relaxing after a canter!) and that first part flowed nicely (or as nice as it can on a tense horse at his first show), but then as I finished the circle and went to gather him back up to do the working trot to medium walk to free walk transitions, he saw his opportunity and he pulled his head straight up and almost exited at A! I put my outside spur on quick and he jumped back into the arena and we somehow put it back together in that corner before the free walk.

    It was his first show so I know stuff like that will happen, but I think that is a tricky sequence in the test especially with that opening at A right there! Next time I will definitely gather up my reins a bit sooner before we approach that opening at A...

    Maybe to avoid getting stuck in the corner, do all your transitions a little sooner? The test says "before A shorten the reins" and "between A and F medium walk" so if you give yourself a few extra strides to shorten your reins and then plan your walk transition to be closer to A than to F, then you have the walk through the corner to reorganize yourself if you need to, so by the time you are getting to F and starting the free walk you are ready for it, instead of just making the transition to walk from the trot and going straight into the free walk.

    I also see people get stuck in the stretchy circle because it takes them half or more of the circle to get their horse to stretch, so then the end of the circle ends up a scramble. It helps me to really work the transition from working trot to stretchy trot so that I can get my stretch going as soon as I start the circle and then think about riding a good circle and have plenty of time for the transitions after the circle. It's probably just going to be harder in the show ring than it is at home though, until the horse/rider have enough show miles to perform away from home the same way they do at home. That's just the nature of showing
    Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
    Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
    My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


    • Original Poster

      not sure but I think that is what I did. It happens so quick through there. I am sure I planned too early and go my transitions a tiny early just because I was worried I would be trotting as I start the diagonal. But its like - there is room to give one AND ONLY ONE good step of medium walk really - its like "SEE, I DID IT" and then long walk. And I could feel myself anticipate a little in my seat thus in the horse's back thus in the stretch and we did nto score well on both stretchy circles because its like we got there and then prepped to transition. Just practice I guess. When I am working him- I get loads of stretch. He is awesome there. Its just that both stretchy circles in Tests 1 and 2 end abruptly and in essense there are two transitions there back to back - well THREE really - a transition from stretchy trot to medium trot to medium walk to long walk. All in - about 15 meters. So much was done to make the tests better test the skills but its like they said - OK - lets put a question in there and see if people figure this out.