We went to the schooling show yesterday and had a great time! I was really suprised by how nice everybody was. We had so many comments on what a lovely horse Louie was and everyone was so amazed that he is a Saddlebred and only 3 years old. By the end of the day he had his own fan club of people who didn't even know us cheering for us (you can hear them in the intro A video lol). He did great- really impressed me for being his first time on this farm, new discipline, stuff to look at, etc. He handled everything like a seasoned pro, having never seen the letter markers, judge in the trailer at the end of the arena, people sitting in metal chairs on the side of the arena, etc- he just took everything in stride. Mind you, I've never had any formal dressage schooling and therefore niether has Louie, so we have a lot of room for improvement should we decide to pursue this dressage thing. Overall, I was very pleased with how we did.
Our first class was intro B. I thought we really had a pretty nice ride. Louie was really responsive and listened well. My own error, I don't know how big a 20m circle is, so I made my circles a few feet small on this pattern, but corrected it for the next one. So here are some of the scores/comments- we got knocked hardest on our free walk, and the major thing being that he needs to reach down into the bit more- something we haven't really worked on having kindof aimed for saddle seat or hunt seat in our training thus far. We received our highest score on impulsion, and much to my suprise I got a 6 on my form (I thought for sure i'd get a 2 with my hunt seat/saddle seat equitation). Our overall comments were: "Nicely forward test, good effort! Work on getting horse to push from behind and stretch over topline into a steady soft connection to hand/bit. Also, watch accuracy- circles should be 20m." We got a 59%! (not an amazing score, but I thought it was pretty darn good for having no dressage training whatsoever!! - I was honestly expecting to embarrass ourselves miserably and come out with a 20% or something lol). This got us 2nd place out of 10. Granted, I think there were a lot of beginners there just like me, but I was pretty happy with that for a first time! Here's the video:
Our second test was Intro A. I kindof lost my horse in this one- I really needed spurs/whip in this class because you'll see in the video how I couldn't get him to trot at C tracking to the left, lol, and he was super lazy and lacked some of his usual impulsion here. My friend Sarah was even clucking from the rail at one point lol. I thought for sure I'd need a stronger bit and no spurs/whip because he was really strong at the last hunt show I brought him to, but Louie was so relaxed and mellow that really wasn't the case. We were also horribly crooked on entering the test (in my opinion, judge didn't think it was that bad) and kindof left the salute prematurely. Other than that, it was a decent ride, I had a hard time getting him over to the rail without counterbending (wasn't listening to my inside leg much at all), and we had a lot less style in this one (from my perspective)- not much bending on the circles, etc. We once again got knocked for our free walk- lazy as could be with no stretch and my elbows locked out, and didn't score as well on the submission category this time- big suprise. Our overall comments were: "Nice job! work on getting horse to stretch more over topline with neck reaching out of shoulder into a soft steady feeling connection to your hand." We scored a 56% on this test, which was good enough for 3rd out of 7. Still, not bad for "dressage on a whim." lol Here's the video:
And here are a few photos- my friend got some really cute ones on her camera so I'll try to post them later when I get them, and there was a pro photographer there too, so her proofs will hopefully be up within the next week, so I'll try to post those if I find them too.
Thanks again to Melissa for videotaping and Sarah for coaching, lending me her saddle, and photographing!