On May 3rd, Knots and I entered a real live dressage schooling show. We decided to do the Intro C and Beginner Novice A patterns. I scheduled some transit with Jeannette and a couple of warm ups with my awesome dressage instructor, Sarah Denham of Denali Sport Horses. We even got the opportunity to go out Friday afternoon and practice our tests in the arena. The footing was a little bit deep, but it was a nice sand/recycled rubber mixture. Knots and I warmed up and he reminded me that he doesn’t currently like to bend to the right. In fact, when I ask him to move off my right leg he tries to canter off. #winning. He also didn’t want to pick up his left lead, which is equally strange. Maybe I am pushing his musculature development, and he is being extra lazy with the other people that ride him. Maybe I am having to correct and then teach each time I ride him. Or maybe he’s just having a funk. Either way.
On show morning, Jeannette and I loaded up the trailer with the assistance of our groom for the show. One of the show team girls wanted to come along, so we told her she could help out. We got to the show obscenely early, and wandered about for a bit, then watched a few tests, socialized, and finally started trying to warm up. Jeannette went first with Intro B, then Intro C. Then I started warming up and trying to get Knots focused. We decided our strategy would be to work him right up until we went into the arena without a break. So Sarah put us through our paces, then told us to trot around until the test before us was done. We went in to do Intro C and it went meh.
We started out mostly ok, but he was still overreacting to the right leg and I couldn’t correct him fast enough. Then we got to the canter circle and I couldn’t get him to pick up the lead. We definitely got some 3s for that movement and those transitions. So that test was kind of meh, but we carried on, and managed to get 3rd/3. There wasn’t enough time to get off between Intro C and BN A, so we stood around in the shade waiting. Then it was time to re-warm up. I thought Knots was settling during the Intro C test, but Sarah disagreed and said he looked tense the entire time, just starting to settle at the end. So I picked up my dressage whip as insurance on my leg and continued through the warm up. He was still fighting me for the lead, but we continued on.
The BN A test wasn’t spectacular either, but I managed to tune up my reflexes and react quicker to his cantering off. This led to us have a more rhythmic test, but I really dropped the ball on the geometry. Despite getting the tricky lead, we did not have a proper 20m circle. Even though I was less than pleased with the geometry, we did barely scrape into 1st place in this test, and so ended the day on a good note 🙂 Don’t let this photo fool you, Jeannette escaped with three ribbons of her own, she got 2nd place in every class she entered!