Words, Show Report, Dressage, Full Circle Horse Park, August 2019

Training Journal


Dressage, CT, 3-Phase
Full Circle Horse Park
Pell City AL, USA
August 24, 2019

Class 3 – 2019 USDF Intro Test A – Adult, 5th of 6, with 60.938%
Highest score: 7.0
Lowest score: 5.0
Results FCHP Shows
Jeremy Villar Photography

Jeremy Villar Photography
(border added)

How Did That Happen?
After Rodney cantered so calmly and quietly, the idea was proposed that we take him to the next Full Circle show. Do a short, simple test. See how he feels about horse shows.

We took it step-by-step. Several trips to acclimate him to the show grounds. Several trips to Stepping Stone Farm. Picking a test about which the rider would have zero stress level.

No red flags sprung up. Time to move forward. How would he react to a show environment? How would he react to being in the show ring? We had no idea. Only one way to find out.

As It Happened
We planned our work; worked our plan.

Got to show early. Took him on two long hand walks to check everything out. Had a chance to walk about the empty dressage arena. Gotta love a schooling show. He looked at this. He looked at that. Overall, he kept calm but startled more easily about little things.

A little more than an hour before our ride time, Rodney long-lined for 15 minutes. In the rain, God bless my wonderful groom. Took a little longer than it might have since I completely messed up reassembling the bridle after cleaning it. Goes on the last hole. Wait, that doesn’t look right. The other last hole.

Tacked up. Horse walked down to warm-up while rider made a stop in the little blue hut of nerves. I don’t know the exact time, but it was well over 1/2 an hour before our test, probably closer to 45 minutes, That’s a lot of warm-up for a 3-4 minute test that is essentially two trot circles. We needed every minute of it.

We really had no idea what he would be like when I got on. I kept telling myself that if he was too anxiety-ridden to listen, I would get right back off.

He was okay. Wouldn’t hold a stand, but would walk carefully around the warm-up. Rationally, I knew I needed to put my leg on. Emotionally, that was not happening. A lot of saddle seating done in those first minutes.

Eventually, I could put my inside leg on for serpentines & circles. I kept walking and kept the faith that the trotting would happen. It did. More walking. Some standing. The space between stopping the anxiety and starting to tire is not wide right now. By the end of warm-up I was running out of quarter. Good thing we only had one test.

I let him walk on the buckle around the arena and in we went.

How Did He Feel About What Happened?
Rose to the occasion. The test was noticably better than the practice ride we did two weeks earlier. Yes, it was still full of bumps and lurches. At one point, I settled him so much be came back to the walk. At another time, he kicked up sand, which hit the boards, which spooked him. I think that’s where the test sheet says I pulled him into the transition.

We went in the ring. We did the test. Marbles were retained. There is the distinct possibility that Rodney might actually enjoy being a show horse.

How Do I Feel About What Happened?
Emotions are weird. I expected to be doing more handsprings. It’s as if a cantankerous part of me is saying, ‘You have a horse. You took him to a horse show. Isn’t that how this is supposed to work?’ I have to shake myself to remember that it took us nine years to get to this simple point.

Its possible I’m still stunned.

How Did We Score?

Show Today! You Are Not Going To Believe This
No Words
Words, Show Report, Dressage, Full Circle Horse Park, August 2019
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Rodney’s Ribbon

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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