Winning The Warm-Up, Show Report, SJ Equestrian, Dressage, March 2019
Class 3 – 2019 USDF Intro Test A (Walk-Trot) – AA (Adult Amateur), 1st of 1, 63.8%
Class 4 – 2019 USDF Intro Test B (Walk-Trot) – AA (Adult Amateur), 1st of 1, 60%
Highest score: 7, various
Lowest score: 5, E-H, Medium Walk, aka The Spook
Rides were not forward or straight. Rides at home are neither forward nor straight. What you lack at home will not magically appear at a show. Pit crew says we got 90% of what we get at home.
This is where we made huge progress. Milton’s first act coming off the trailer was to start grazing. It was nice, pleasant gimme-grass grazing, not I’m-so-stressed-I-must-eat tearing at greenery. As we tacked up, a largish trailer arrived. We know how that goes [Victory]. We stopped. We waited. Milton watched.
We walked up to the ring. We walked in-hand a few laps. I got on. Sans preliminary lunging. He walked. He looked. He knew he was at FHF. He also knew that it was different than a lesson day. He spent time regarding the trailers parked down the hill behind the ring. He said, ‘Those aren’t usually there.’ He was fascinated with the spot where horses appeared/disappeared as they walked up/down the road to the trailer parking. It was magic. These two observations became important later.
We went back to the trailer. Switched to the fancy white show pad and black show hat. We wandered back up. We trotted on the buckle. We even cantered. Once. The transition was horrid. By the time we upshifted, we only had room for a few strides. We did it. Milton failed to get upset. I felt froggy enough to try.
I can’t stress how relaxed he was about the whole thing. Not, he’s doing okay all things considered, or he’s coping well. Just sittin’ on my horse waiting for my tests. Awesome.
The dressage ring was laid out on one side of the big FHF ring. Warm-up was the other half of the ring. Right next door. As we came up the long side in our second test, a horse spooked about 10 feet away. Milton gave a short spook, then stood, looking around to see what was wrong. As the judge said after our test, “There must be something wrong if he (the other horse) is spooking.”
I kicked. Milton looked over the end of the ring. We could see the roof of one rig. ‘Was that the problem?’ he wondered. I managed not to yell at him, ‘It’s your own damn trailer.’ I’ve done this in the past [Georgia]. I kicked again. A horse appeared in the magic horse apparition spot. ‘Was that the problem?’ he wondered. I finally got his eyes back in the boat. We finished our test.
One never wants the horse to decide to play statue in the middle of a dressage test. OTOH, if his response to spooking is to stand still, I can live with that. The judge was kind enough to label this “loss (of) impulsion” and give us a 5.
The Other Bits & Pieces
It was eerily easy getting ready in the morning. The show was close to home. We know the barn. I know the judge. We have done so much shipping for lessons, we have the packing and loading down to a science. It all felt too easy.
Note to self. Wear rubber boots in the morning. Even if it hasn’t rained, the dew will soak my toes. Bring sneakers for later. Maybe if I write this here, I will remember next time.
The show had an Academy classes. Before this, I’ve only seen Academy at Saddlebred shows. It’s a great idea for all disciplines. Gives good-hearted lesson horses and beginning riders an inviting place to start.
Tomorrow, the yellow ribbon explained.
Thank you for reading,