January 20, 2013

January Blast Schooling Show Wrap-Up

First, thank you so much for all the comments on the last post!  I think everyone who has ever commented on this blog before commented on that one.  Your support helped so much, and with a few days of sunshine and a good show under my belt, I am feeling so much better.
Rear-facing pony.

Our goals for the show yesterday were:
1. For my trainer and I to figure out Connor's preferred warmup
2. To survive showing at the canter, no matter what it looked like
3. To make mistakes here - not later in the season at shows that matter
4. To see how he did at a show facility he'd never been to before

I am so happy to report that we accomplished all of those goals yesterday, and that I am so proud of my pony!  We got a 66% in Intro C and a 63% in Training 1, and best of all, got the same quality of work, focus and concentration out of him at the show as we did at the best points in my lessons.  He was forward, elastic, straight, connected, and really moving under me.  It felt amazing!  Most of the mistakes were mine.  In order:

1. Connor's preferred warm-up is short, and involves lots of leg yields and insistent half-halts.  Even as we were going down the outside of the show ring, I was leg yielding him back and forth, and the end result was a pony that was on the bit and on my aids when I was ready to go down the centerline.  We were actually running late so I had to do some of my warm-up on the loooooong walk over to the ring, with just a couple of minutes in the warm-up ring, but that turned out to be perfect.

2. The canter was not pretty, but two of his total four canter transitions were really good, he did not break, and we got the leads right.  The judge's notes for the canter said, 'Flat' and 'Needs impulsion,' both things I knew going in. 

3. I certainly made my share of mistakes, which is why we took four green riders and four green horses to this tiny schooling show.  Turns out you can't click in Dressage - not that I was terribly obvious about it, I just make one single soft click every so often, but the judge did notice.  My figures need work, and the judge said he was braced at times, so I am clearly using too much hand.

4. He could not have cared less about getting out of bed at 6am, getting thrown on the trailer, and hurriedly being tacked up and pretty much immediately going into the show ring when we got there.  New facility, tests we'd never ridden before (I did this on purpose - I ride better when I'm paying close attention), even being left alone in an overflow barn a half-mile from the rest of the horses after we were done: Connor couldn't have cared less.  He was a professional, and my trainer was more excited about how he conducted himself than anything else. She says we really have something to work with if he gives his best work and is able to focus at shows like that.
Walking the show facility after he was done - that place is huge!

We were done with both of our tests before the other girls had even started theirs, so I spent an hour walking Connor around the show grounds in the sunshine and warm weather.  It felt so good just to hang out with my little buddy, and it was nice to let him see all there was to see at the facility.

So excited!


  1. I am so glad for you that things went well! Sounds like you got the results you were looking for it is the most important thing ever!

  2. Congrats! It sounds like he really could not have done any more than you wanted from him. Great job both of you :)

  3. I was hoping for a show update! :) That's awesome! Congratulations.

  4. I have been anxiously waiting to hear how it went! Those are super scores and love hearing how laid back Connor was about the new place. Feels good to get that first time cantering at a show out of the way, doesn't it?

  5. I am so glad you had fun and had a great test too. Congrats!

  6. Yay! Congrats! Glad Connor was a good guy!

  7. Aw well done! Great scores, and it must be so great to find out that Connor will keep his focus in a strange place.
    "flat" and "needs more impulsion" are words I've seen on sheets too :)
    A lot of cobs are built downhill and find it difficult to carry the weight on the back end, but when they've built up muscle it becomes easier. I couldn't believe the difference in FLurry's flatwork after our 500km trek. All that hill-work paid off!
    Anyway, congrats on your great start to your first REAL year of competition x

  8. Thanks, everyone! Kelly, YES it feels good! Now we have something to go forward with. Martine, it's funny you mention it, on the way home I was discussing my plans for legging up Connor in the fields prior to event season since he is a drafty little pony and not a Thoroughbred. It's no 500km trek :) but it will help a lot.

  9. Woohoo! Sounds like you had a positive experience, and that sounds like a giant show facility!