As I sit at my desk "working" these days, I find myself dreaming about a Dressage show season, and not really thinking about eventing at all, despite Connor's jumping going really well these days.
There are a few reasons for that. First, it feels like the sky's the limit with his Dressage. My rides on my own have been improving under the new game plan, and his work in lessons continues to be awesome. Combine that with the fact that it's even easier to get a good ride on him at shows, where he's amped up, and he is a LOT of fun to show in Dressage.
|I turned him loose in the ring to play, and when he was done I walked over to him, petted him, and asked him to follow me all the way across the ring - and he did!|
Second, there's that promise my husband made me that if I show Third, he'll buy me a new, custom, Dressage saddle, and yes, he knows what that costs. His said "If I'm going to pay that much for non-road legal transportation, I at least want some bragging rights to go along with it." So I need to at least show 3-1 at a schooling show someday, and I am not going into the ring for it until we're ready - as tempting as it is to get a 40% at a schooling show in order to get a custom saddle...I'm not that person.
|How you get from the indoor to the barn when it's 15F: quarter sheet plus cooler|
Third, we're limited in eventing. His size will likely limit us to Training, and my brain will limit us to Training if we're lucky, but more realistically Novice. That sh*t looks huge from the back of a pony!
We can get him less squirrely on XC with time and patience, but he's such a worrier, it almost feels cruel. He needs to know everything is going to be perfect or else he's nervous to the base of the fence, and it takes him time to analyze the situation and feel comfortable enough to jump it. I can give him the kind of security he needs in the Dressage and even jumper rings, but not on the XC course, where I need him to be brave and to use his "fifth leg" in less-than-perfect situations. Sure we have never had a jump penalty on XC because he has springs for legs, but it isn't enough - he needs to be comfortable and confident too.
|Everything looks bigger from a pony.|
So, all that is to say, we're not giving up on eventing, we'll definitely school XC as much as we can and hit an event or two, but I won't be renewing my USEA or IEA memberships this year. A year of Dressage and XC schools before revisiting the eventing scene in 2017 isn't the worst plan. With luck, our first Dressage show will be in less than a month from now!