Scott took some great photos this weekend at the local show in Vacaville! Here is my new favorite:
Extended canter in the warm up before 3-3 test
The show went well. We didn't do as well as we have been doing (or I should say I didn't do as well as I have been doing - MP was great) but I think that is a blessing in disguise as I learned several good lessons:
1. Only show in your own saddle - mine is "in the shop" and so I'm riding in a loaner;
2. Don't show unprepared - we've only ridden two times in two weeks because of the smoke and poor air quality;
3. Don't "perfect" MP at a show - she's already perfect and she knows what she's doing.
MP hanging out at "her" trailer - this is a new concept
The day started off better than expected. We got to the show extra early because I wanted to be extra prepared since I hadn't really ridden for two weeks. I expected MP to be a little tight and wound up from all the time off, but she was neither. She was super relaxed and focused which encouraged me to relax and focus.
5 minutes into the 1st warm up
My first test was the FEI Para Equestrian Individual test. I had practiced the test a few times before but not in its entirety. The test also has to be ridden from memory so I couldn't have it called the first time. This left me scrambling to sear it into my brain right before the class.
We go where? When?
You can tell I'm riding the Para tests when I have a helmet on not the top hat
Right before I entered the show ring I decided to enter from the left rather than right to see if it changed our entry. Well I felt like it did. I felt like MP was a little backed off, but now I think that I just got tense and so I wasn't "feeling" for the right things. In fact I don't think I was feeling at all.
Two bobbles arose in the test. The first was in the walk work - she trotted! So I got a 5. The second was my left to right simple changes. I nailed the canter to walk but then couldn't seem to get the right lead canter transition. Another 5.
Because of me not really knowing what happened in that test and assuming it was MP who was backed off, I went straight back to the warm up after my first test to "ramp her up" for the second. I also needed to review my 3-3 test and ride some flying changes since I hadn't in two weeks.
Ramping up in the warm up for 3-3
After ramping - collected canter in the warm up
Going over 3-3 test
All my ramping paid off because I had some of the best trot and canter work I've ever had...in the warm up. When I tried to take it into the show ring I rode a little too aggressive and MP got tight, tense and rushed. So my score suffered. The judge stopped me after the test and told me "You two are a lovely pair and your rhythm, balance, engagement and forward were darn near perfect in your first test. You rushed her in your second test and your score will reflect that."
At the time I did not agree. I thought the second test went much better than the first and I had no bobbles whatsoever so I was a little dismayed when I saw the 64%. But then I watched my video. The first test was FAR superior as far as MP was concerned. I didn't ride very well which is why I had mistakes and I was tight so I don't look so good, but MP looks phenomenal. In the second test, my riding looks better but MP looks as if she's saying "would you just let me do the trotting!". The first place ride had a 64.8% so had I left her alone and relaxed, I bet my score would have been another 68 or so.
I learned a very valuable lesson in that test. Again, the two of us are just starting to know one another, so I still can't quite measure my feel on her. But she knows what she's doing and if I stay relaxed, focused, and do my job and ride accurately she'll take care of the rest. Once I know what I'm feeling for, then I can push the envelope at shows - but if I don't have the feel I'm just nagging. And I don't want to be a nag!