Sunday, April 21, 2013

Training Level Dressage

We officially have shown training level- at least a schooling show level. Just two weeks after our slightly disastrous test then somewhat respectable re-do (and just a day after going horse camping at a cross country schooling facility) we tried our first training level tests together.

I actually had asked my dressage coach to come out to warm us up. I figured with the approaching move, this may be my last show for a while, and wanted to make the most of it. A last minute horse emergency meant that she couldn't make it. While I think she could have gotten us stretching over the topline if she had been there, we did really about as good as we could!

First off, this was my third, and potentially LAST try at these braids. These pics were after the two tests, so I'd like to say the braids looked better at the beginning. But CLEARLY I need to change something. I refuse to pull her luscious pony mane because I see no point. So I need to braid to accommodate this. Maybe a few videos to refresh my technique might help, maybe I need to go Andalusian style and braid the mane long instead of shortened? Maybe I'll just roach the thing and be done with braiding forever? I think this last one might work slightly better for eventing than USDF rated tests that I hope to get to.

 Any way, the tests both went quite well. I had never done Training Test 2 before, so it was nice to get that under my belt.

She was very good in this arena too! It can be quite echoey with the birds up in the rafters. Although I had been there twice with Bear, Lola had never been to this place before.

We got some 7's and 7.5's on our trot work. Our free walk was not as good as it usually is, and lately I've been getting some stretch but no real over track. She'd rather take the chance to look like a deflating balloon strung out and pokey.
As expected, her canter departs and quality received some comments about needing improvement, but I already know that. I just keep plugging away, and little by little the red mare is figuring it out. The left is especially hard as she doesn't bend to the inside so easily that direction.

Her canter to the right actually got a 7 on our second test, and her downward transition to the trot even got a 7.5 Notes were well balanced with good bend (Well, yes, that's the direction that she LIKES to bend!)  I'll take it though! Even if it is a slightly generous schooling show score.

I do have to remind myself that despite the canter work not being what I'd like, it is still so much improved from what she has naturally, and what it was even a few months before.

We ended up with almost a 66% on each test, but definitely landed us in the mid-60's which was my goal for these first tests. We really didn't get much out of our stretchy trot or our free walk, so those are two clear places to improve on before trying training level at a rated show. 
Of course the fun of schooling shows is having similar level competitors. So my 65's were good enough to get me two blue ribbons and some horse cookies!

Training Level Test 1 Video

Training Level Test 2 Video

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