June 29, 2021

Waterloo: 2-2 and 2-3

We rode 2-2 on Saturday and 2-3 on Sunday to mimic what we'll have to do at NDPC next month. I've never done 2-2 before, because on paper it looks like a terrible test, not only in general but also in terms of highlighting what we're bad at.

I felt vindicated in my bad feelings toward it when I schooled it on Thursday night during my lesson and CGP was watching me like "Wait what? That's THERE? Are you kidding me? Did you ride that right?" I confirmed that I did, and I could feel her shaking her head.

Both Saturday and Sunday featured 2 hour rain delays

After going off-course twice at the last show, I was determined not to do it again this time, which would be no small feat since I'd never ridden 2-2 before Thursday night. While running through it in my head over and over Friday night, I made a particular error once that I mentally noted felt dangerously easy to do, which is start 2-2 (which begins with two half 10m circles) as if it was 2-3 (which has full 10m circles in the same place).

Guess what I did in the ring on Saturday, ugh.

Judge: "Are you riding 2-2?" Me: "I am, but I'm trying to ride 2-3, sorry"

The rest of the test rode okay, for doing it in an actual lake. To add complete insult to weather injury, it POURED during my warmup, soaking me through, and then the sun came out for the first half of my test, making it feel like I was wearing a wet, steamy paper bag the entire test.


The simples, especially the counter canter to walk, were not quite as crisp as they are at home. He was a little behind my leg (I mean, do you blame the little guy, it has to take more energy to get through water that deep!) And I never quite got that same back lifted feeling that I did the day before. But even with the error, it was good enough for a 62%+. 


On Sunday, CGP made me have a reader for the first time in my life, just "to break the cycle" of going off-course. I gotta be honest, I was pretty mentally shook up about going off course so many times since I started showing with her, because in my whole life up to the point, both Dressage and eventing, I'd only gone off course twice before, usually the first time I rode a test.


But this feels like another Second Level cliff thing. In the past, I focused a lot on riding the pattern correctly. Now, I'm focusing on managing the horse, half-halting, preparing for things, what his balance is like, what my body is doing, and a bunch of other stuff I've never focused on in the ring before, and I'm expecting the test riding to be automatic. Which is somewhat unfair to my brain given that I don't have access to a full-sized court at home, and the only time I get to school these tests completely is at shows.

Unfortunately, and I didn't think about this until it was way too late, nobody ran the idea of a reader past Connor. The first time we came down the long side past the reader during the test, Connor TELEPORTED into the center of the ring.

At least his schnoz is cute

In retrospect, I should've anticipated that, not that I could've done anything to mitigate it. He was very tired and behind my leg (to the point that I almost said "I should scratch" in the warmup, but my trainer said part of learning how to show is learning how to best present the horse you have that day, and she was not wrong), and he was going to look for an excuse to get out of the work, and one presented itself.

I used Saturday's rain delay to (finally) watch a video on how to do a good forelock. Normally I either have Mary do them for me, or I slap one together and hope no one notices how much more terrible the forelock is than the rest of my braids.

The rest of the test kind of sucked - he was super behind my leg, very tense and broke in the second canter serpentine. I was fully expecting a 55%, and was absolutely stunned to receive a 60.8% and some genuinely helpful feedback from the judge.

All my teammates kept commenting on Connor's (partially rubbed out by his muzzle) moustache last weekend, haha

Ultimately, the scores didn't matter to me. My goals for this weekend were to practice as if this was NDPC, get through 2-2 the first time, and on Sunday, my goal was to not go off-course, and I did all of that. So while I wish the scores were higher, I came away from it happy and feeling accomplished, and with a plan to make NDPC go more smoothly.

17 comments:

  1. I don't really know how you all manage to memorize these tests, let alone more than one per show! I feel like I would be off course pretty much every time. It sounds like you did accomplish most of what you came to do though, so that's great!

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    1. I did, so I'm really not at all bummed about it! There's a lot more to showing than scores. If I didn't have that phone app to memorize tests, I don't know what I'd do.

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  2. on one hand, it's a bummer the tests didn't go exactly as you'd hoped. realistically tho, sounds like an excellent experience for figuring out what works when everything is kinda not quite ideal. also curious how you felt about the reader. i have a history of going off course too... but often find readers almost more distracting, weirdly??

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    1. I'm not sure the reader helped me as much as it would other people specifically because of the way I memorize my tests, which is to memorize the shape/location of the movements using that app on my phone I've reviewed before. I've almost never actually read through the movements, which is what the reader reads, and the part of 2-3 I keep going off course in has a very...vague?...written out movement (you're supposed to keep going around the "outside" of the arena so it's like "EHCM collected canter". But the one thing I did like is that there are some points where I'm like "OHMYGOD what letter does this movement happen at!" and with a reader, there was never any question about finer points like that.

      BUT all that said, it's not something I want to get dependent on since you can't have one at championship shows.

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  3. I have done a pretty good job of memorizing all my tests, from Training to Prix St. George, but I am sure that has come at some sacrifice of managing what's more important – effectively riding every stride. But listening to a reader also takes my focus away from that, so I keep plugging away at learning the test so thoroughly that I don't have to think about it as much, practicing "riding" it on paper, in my mind, on foot in my house, and even during our walking warm-ups at home in my short court (walking the pattern while I remind myself what happens at each letter). Your Saturday conditions were HORRIBLE; good for you for persevering!!!

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    1. I do all of the same, nothing quite compares to actually riding it though! I would sell a limb for a full-size court at home. Thank you!

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  4. I think it's so funny no one likes 2-2 when I would take it any day of the week over 2-1 which I will never ever ever ride.

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    1. What?! 2-1 is like my favorite test in Second Level haha. We will agree to disagree. Short diagonals for the mediums, no simple changes, generally symmetrical. I <3 that test.

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    1. Haha, thanks. He does have a good one!

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  6. Hey, at least Connor loves to be in the water, right? 😂

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    1. He does! That's on purpose too, I've made him go through every puddle we've ever encountered, no matter where we are or whether I'm on him or not!

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  7. Ugh I can feel your steamy bagness... NOPE I fucking hate wearing wet clothes. Sorry it was a lackluster show but I'm glad you got some helpful comments from the judge!

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    1. It was dissssssssssssgusting! And yeah that made it worth it for sure.

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  8. Wow, that's a lot of water to ride through!! I don't know how you memorize all of those different dressage tests- at least in jumping we have different jumps to go to, not just an open ring! That forelock braid is lovely btw!!

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  9. Dude, dressage tests are so long and hard. I honestly don't know how any of y'all remember ANY of them. So don't beat yourself up! Plus those are crazy conditions to have to push through.

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  10. Ugh, that water!!! It really does make them back way off. Well done for getting good scores despite it!

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