Majestic Farms February Frolic Schooling Show Wrap-Up

I had hoped to use this schooling show as an opportunity to get feedback on Connor and I's suitability for first level, and to use the feedback as a roadmap to know what to work on before our first rated this year.

But of course, horses have the best ways of humbling you.  The best laid plans...

Me?  Humble you?

Connor was a total twit from the second I got on for warmup all the way through most of our second test.  He was spooky, tense, running through my hands, not listening to me, and just generally acted like he'd never shown before in his life.  Yes, it was an indoor show, but he's shown here before.  Normally he channels that tension productively by focusing more on me when he's nervous, making for excellent rides at shows.  Not so this time.

TENSION.  WE HAS IT.

We came out of the ring after the first test and I was positively frazzled.  My trainer noticed, and thought I was putting pressure on myself to do well.  I was like "Of course not, this is a schooling show, I had just hoped to actually get productive feedback on what we're really capable of, which we're not even close to what we've been doing at home."

Beautiful...or something...

She tried to settle me down and get us working together, but with just about 15 minutes between tests,  the second test ended up being much like the first one, until my brain finally exploded with the effort of keeping Connor from losing his, and I forgot to turn down centerline at the end of the 1-2 after the stretchy circle.  Yes, the easiest part of the test to do - end it - I forgot.



I was feeling pretty dejected as we went back to his stall.  My trainer stayed quiet, gave me some time, and then said, "You're going to get back on him in an hour and school him, we'll have a lesson in the schooling ring."  Ok.  Noted.

Rider position: terrible

In between, I watched the videos of my rides, they didn't look as bad as they felt, but they were still terrible.  Got our scores back, we were given a ridiculously generous 60% on 1-1 and 58% on 1-2 (when I went off course).  I mean...when I put my hands forward for the stretchy circle in 1-1 he actually threw his head UP and went around like a giraffe, then put his head down when I picked him up at the end.  Damn it, horse!  The judge wrote "Didn't do" on the sheet next to stretch circle and gave us a 4.  I guess she gave us points for...riding a circle shape?

Seriously, did we get cute points or something?  This is as close to this rail as I could get him here in either test (judge and scribe are located just out of the frame to the right and he curled away from them every time we passed this point.

An hour later, I tacked back up and went back into the warmup ring.  My trainer said, "Okay, so he was part of the problem out there, but so were you.  When you felt him getting tense, you stopped riding like you do at home, you stopped paying attention to his balance and your position.  You need to learn to stick to your guns no matter what he does."

She put us on a 20m circle at one of the arena, and gave us a lesson in the same place we'd completely melted down at an hour before.  And...it was awesome.  He was quiet, and listening, and supple and maybe not as active as I'd want, but he'd just done two Dressage tests and honestly, calm and a little behind my leg was preferable to the freight train I'd ridden an hour earlier.

I never ask my trainer to video because I'd rather she focus on teaching, but this time I said, "Could you maybe video this?  A little just to remind myself what we're capable of when I ride well, and a little to soothe my ego..."

She obliged, and I even managed to get a copy of it for you guys (sound removed).  He got progressively better throughout this ride, and got pretty decent toward the end of the video:



So, lesson learned!

(Also I couldn't take my eyes off that big black warmblood schooling flying changes in a double bridle with the 70's plaid quarter sheet and the rider in the brown boots that you see in the video.  Horse seemed a little older, but they were still eye candy.)

26 comments:

  1. You guys look great in the video. Take heart, this is the reason to go to schooling shows to work out the kinks. Your trainer sounds like she is totally on the ball and I bet you work out how to ride him at shows just like you do at home. Stick with it, he is really cute and I bet you're going to have a fun year.

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    1. Thanks! We did end up getting a lot out of it, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

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  2. Y'all look wonderful in the schooling video.. his canter is SO very improved after all the work you've done this past year or so! Sometimes they come off the bus and just don't want to play.. but this is why we have schooling shows. :)

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    1. Thanks! Yeah it was definitely one of those "both partners have a mind of their own" reminders.

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  3. Oh man, I so know this feeling. It's like someone takes the balloon that is your heart and just pops it, right in your face, and you try not to show that that was your freaking heart and just keep going. Like when you feel so ready for something and then *pop*. Good for you and good for your trainer for getting it done and coming out the other side. It wasn't pleasant but you definitely learned something - and that still counts as a success. The only real failure, in my eyes, is when you refuse to take nothing away from even a bad ride. Many kudos girl!
    Rebecca (backinthetack.wordpress.com)

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    1. Thanks! It was definitely a learning experience and a success, just not the success I thought we'd have. I'm glad we did it and I'm glad it ended up the way it did.

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  4. At least you guys were able to end on a good note. That definitely counts for something. And yes, lesson learned! Next time out you'll be that much more prepared on what to do!

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    1. Pretty much - "stay tactful no matter what is (or isn't) going on underneath you"

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  5. I hate when these types of tests happen. I have been there so many times. There will be a next time and now you know that this Conner may or may not show up and you can prepare for either one.

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    1. Glad to know I am not alone. It is definitely a new thing to prepare for, I kept thinking "He normally brings his A game through stuff like this!"

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  6. You look really great in the schooling video! It's good that you were able to end on a positive note, too.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, it would have been a totally different show if my trainer didn't have me get back on.

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  7. Ugh, that is so frustrating. Been there, done that for sure. I'm glad you had a good lesson after all of that.

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    1. Thanks, the lesson made the whole thing worth it.

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  8. I have a funny feeling our first show of the season is going to go the same way. The joy of spring schooling shows :) Glad you had a good lesson after - you both look great in the video!

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    1. Totally! If there is one thing I've learned, it's don't show rated right off the bat, ever!

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  9. I realized last year that showing is a skill unto itself and no matter how well I ride at home, I had to learn how to show. I'm still not good at it, but I try to be kind to myself when things go wrong in the ring, because I certainly don't have those 10000 hours in there that Denny is always talking about.

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    1. It's really true. Just handling your horse in another environment is a skill unto itself. 10,000 hours in showing...whew. That'll take a while in five minute increments. Ha!

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  10. Ah that's so unfortunate, but the video looks fantastic! Hopefully the next show will be better and the one after that too. It's definitely a different skill set for both rider and horse, I learned that the hard way last year with the baby- just because I'm halfway decent at showing doesn't mean he's not going to lose his brain in new places and make me struggle to ride him!

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  11. how frustrating... i fall into that trap all the time of kinda forgetting how to work through something when the judge is watching... how perfect to have the lesson afterwards tho, you two look great! you'll get your feedback soon :D

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  12. You guys look great in the video! Sounds like you got a great lesson/learning experience. I bet the next show will be awesome :)

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    ReplyDelete
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  15. So glad you posted the schooling video - you both look super! Really enjoy watching Connor go :)

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  16. We've all had those tests. Haha remember when met? Que crying baby over a dressage test. .omg. anyways you guys are going to go far this year. I just know it. I didn't realize you came to shows out my way. Our pony club uses majestic often for lessons, clinics,camps etc. Actually we will be at a few of their recognized shows volunteering over the season. Let us know if you are coming again and maybe the minions and I will come by and cheer you and Connor on.

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