dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Show Update

Oh my- I have so much to share and say and I'm exhausted. I'm not yet sure if I will put the weekend in one post or two but let's see where it goes. Let me at least tell you about the tests.

The show was at Five Fires Equestrian Centre, the same place as we did the clinic. And let me just say- this is the perfect venue to introduce green horses and/or riders to dressage competitions. Everyone was supportive and helpful and friendly. The classes were well paced, the judge was kind and gave constructive feedback.

My first test was at 9:49 and I wanted to start the warm-up at 9. Part of the whole experience was about the warm up ring too. My goal was to have her relaxed and listening. Karen came to help us warm up and read my tests. My friends Cynthia, Ashley and Nancy also came to cheer us on and provide moral support. The mounting block was set up so that the horse was to stand between the fence and the block. Carmen was having none of it so I brought her to the other side and mounted that way. There were some poles on the ground at one side and those poles plus the mounting block were identified as being dangerous. FYI earlier that morning we had walked around the warm up ring and she had sniffed those poles with no issues. So I wasn't buying it and we were going to work through it. A few shoulder ins and some taps of the whip and it became a non-issue. There's a lot more to say about how we did it and what we did but I won't bore you.

The ring is surrounded on three sides with a drainage ditch with water. There are also cattails, brush and grass. Bits of machinery and farm equipment are there. All things that would conceivably cause Carmen issues. She couldn't have cared less. I was super impressed with how she dealt with the other horses being there. It took about 23 minutes (according to Karen!) for her to start to listen to me and not argue about who got to make the decisions.

Karen snapped this picture of us in the warm up:

When it was time for our test we walked up to the ring. To enter the ring you walk through an area that has the judge's stand, spectators and the observation lounge on the left. Karen led the way and we walked in.

Our first test was Training Level 1 and our scores ranged from 2 to 7.5. There were definite spots that Carmen was having issues with:
A- you can see a sliver of the outside as you go by the door; clearly an entrance for trolls.
The ramp - just too much to see there.
The observation room windows
And the little sliver of sunlight dancing at B.

We had discussions at every one of those points. And I was not giving up. It was a schooling show so we schooled. Our score of 2 was at movement 5: 'working trot between B& M'. The comment says 'resistance in corner.' Which is how a nice judge phrases 'horse slammed to a halt and tried to run the other way while rider hauled on rein and pony-club kicked her through it'. Our 7.5 was for our trot circle at the middle. And I have to say I was quite pleased with it. Our score for that test was 51.3 and somehow scored us First Place. I loved the judges comment: "between the challenges there was some real quality! Keep it up!' Frankly I was thrilled we got over 50.

I should mention at this point that I didn't collect the tests until we were done. I didn't want to change my game plan at this point which was about the miles not the points.

For our second test the warm up was shorter and much easier. We also lined up between the mounting block and the fence with minimal fuss (it is the little things). Funny story: we were cantering down the long side and startled a crow which flew up out of the long grass (you may recall that Carmen spooks regularly at crows). Her head flew up.
Carmen: OMG a crow!
Me: *digs heels in* Let's GO GET IT! 
Carmen: Yeah! 
We chase the crow down the long side for a few strides.
Carmen: *stutters her hind legs* Wait...what are we doing? 
*crow flies off in a huff and I give her a pat.

Our second test (Training 2) felt a lot better. We still had issues at the areas above but our scores ranged from 4 to 7 with a lot more 6's. Our total was 55.96 which netted us second. I was so happy to have gone up. The comments was "Some much better work this time. Horse needs to be more solidly in front of the leg so you can sit up and ride into the corners". I did laugh at that - no kidding! 

I was very happy with our first day at the show. Later that evening I took her out to lunge in the arena and I made her work in the spooky spots and did not allow her to hesitate at all. She was super brave and sniffed the evil death ray of sunlight. Hey, it's not dangerous at all- it's just light! No kidding.
I felt encouraged by the other riders/spectactors who took the time to say encouraging things to me. Everyone was very understanding of our shenanigans and were cheering us on.

unlike this cat who is judging you on your failure to impress 

I have photos from the first day (not the second). They were taken by Ashley:




I went to bed at 9.

The next day I had my plan to get us ready and warmed up. Carmen felt different this morning. She was tuned in from the beginning of our warm up. I was by myself today and decided that we could do it together and if we needed help I would ask for it. But we didn't need it. She walked up to stand outside the ring and walked in with some encouragement (you can see the phone above we walk on the other side of the stage). I made sure she saw the judge and that we walked in our spooky areas. The judge rang the bell and we started out test.

And we rocked it. She went everywhere I asked. She hesitated at our spooky spots and I tapped her a few times with the whip but that was it. Instead of arguing she trusted me and did it. When we did our final halt at X I saluted and then said YES! I gave her huge pat and the judge a huge smile as we left. The judge said 'wow, what magic did you do? (or something like that). I smiled and said 'Patience' (understatement of the century). Our scores ranged from 5.5 (free walk) to 8 (circle at E). Our final score was a highly respectable 66.73. Judges comments: "Well ridden! Work to keep her laterally supple and forward to your leg to keep the walk correct. Great job!'

For our last test I did a warm up of about 20 minutes- just focussing on keeping her supple and listening. We were both tired but not exhausted and it was time for our last test.

And it was awesome.  Again 5.5 to 8 but a lot more more 6's and 7's. She was with me the whole way with some hesitations. The free walk and stretchy trot  were our big problems but I wasn't expecting them to be good given that she needs to much support right now. When I came down centre line I was so happy that I started to tear up. I leaned over and gave her the biggest hug. Our final score? 70.38.

That's right- our scores improved 19 points over the course of the show.

Friday I was thinking that I was nuts. I hadn't shown in 5-6 years and I just turned 53. But I had so much fun and loved the whole experience.

Even though that was not the point I am pleased to have these lovely satin ribbons. Our first together:


This photo sums up the whole experience (photo credit to Joanne Kane):
Me: OMG I'm having so much fun!
Carmen: Umm, what just happened? And does anyone have a tranquilizer gun?


71 comments:

  1. So much to celebrate!!!! Oh gosh I'm so happy for you I teared up reading this. Way to stick it out, even when things were tough. What a partnership you've built with Carmen 💕

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm super happy with our weekend.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. We worked hard to get here. I was thrilled. Heck, I was thrilled with the warm up.

      Delete
  3. Woohoo!! sounds like a great show and wonderful experience :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats!!! She looks amazing. I can't wait to see where you two go together. All your hard work and patience is paying off big time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well done - and happy birthday - I think we share the day and the year!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes- I do remember that. Happy Birthday to you too!

      Delete
  6. Loved hearing this in detail. Well done you and what a good girl she is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She really is becoming a great horse.

      Delete
  7. Oh my gosh!!! Congratulations to you both!!! What a beautiful progress to the weekend - way to go, both of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. It exceeded my expectations.

      Delete
  8. That's awesome! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Teresa!! How AMAZING. SO many congratulations. You two are GOING places. This is so wonderful. I'm so happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm sure that we will have some more bobbles but hopefully not too many '2's. :D

      Delete
  10. ooooh she looks so wonderful! major kudos for taking each opportunity as it came to help Carmen understand what was up, rather than slipping into my patented-passive-show-mode haha. sounds like she learned a TON from the experience and got better as she went!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think being passive would have resulted in a wreck so I didn't have a choice. I agree that she learned a lot too. I hope it carries over.

      Delete
  11. AMAZING! Yay!!! You have done such a marvelous job with Miss Carmen! I am so proud of you guys and I don't even know you LOL! ;-) Excellent improvement in scores but the trust and growth is really what makes it so good. What a fantastic learning experience and those ribbons are just icing on the cake. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It's funny how you start to feel that you know fellow bloggers like they live next door!

      Delete
  12. That is so amazing, congratulations on having a horse show up to play! Even if it did take an extra day lol. Remember I have said more than once that sometimes it takes extra time for Mia's brain to arrive, something about the trailering makes her brain be delayed. Perhaps Carmen has the same problem? A 17 point increase is huge and you are justified in being so proud. So happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that it was two days to give us time to adjust.

      Delete
  13. Congratulations! ! You should be very proud of the hard work the two have you put in this year. Carmen is coming through for you thanks to you not ever giving up on her. If you're getting scores like that now, there's no limit to what you can accomplish! !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that I didn't give up.

      Delete
  14. Congratulations!!! What a weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Way to go!! What a team you two are becoming!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What an exciting outing! I loooove the last photo :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I laughed so hard when I saw it!

      Delete
  17. Sounds like a really successful outing! Can't argue with scores like that! I hope our outings go that well someday :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure that they will. I'm also sure that we won't always get scores like that (the low and the high). :)

      Delete
  18. I literally started to cry reading this! I am sure many other readers have felt the same way! You have worked so hard! You wanted to give up, but you didn't, you took a breath and kept right on working! I have a half done post I should finish about how showing dressage helps with perspective on life, because you are a shinning example. If you get a 2, don't quit, just do what needs to get done because maybe the next movement will be a 7.5.

    You should be thrilled that you got over 70%, not many people get that ever! I am sure you heard all about Laura Graves, the dressage rider from the US who almost sold her horse Verdades half a dozen times because he was so difficult. Carmen may not be easy, but it sounds like she is one hell of a ride ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! What she said! I almost had tears in my eyes. So much about riding and working with horses, and getting better with them, is basically life in a nut shell.

      Delete
    2. Thank you both for your kindness.

      Delete
  19. I'm just so thrilled for you! All that patience paid off, those are fantastic scores :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm hoping we keep on this trajectory.

      Delete
  20. love love love! Way to go you two!!! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Whoot whoot. This is me doing a happy dance for you 💃💃💃

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great show you two had. Congratulations on everything! You must be over the moon and waiting impatiently for your next show. WTG!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I am looking forward to our next outing.

      Delete
  23. One of the things I love about dressage is that you can show your horsemanship during a "challenging" ride and get rewarded for riding quietly and assuring your horse. Best of all, your horse responded to your excellent riding and gave you her trust. It's so cool the judge got to see that! I bet you were beaming at those compliments (and the score to reflect it!) Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is one of the things I love about dressage. And yes, I enjoyed her comments very much.

      Delete
  24. OH WOW! What an awesome first experience and so much improvement in 2 days. And you had fun!! Could not be better

    ReplyDelete
  25. You both look absolutely amazing in those pictures! Very elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so happy for you and Carmen! Good job! Also, A+ on your turnout. You both look fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I had to figure out our show 'outfit'. :D

      Delete
  27. The last picture of Carmen cracks me up. Very Bill & Ted-esque.
    Sounds like she really learned over the weekend. What an awesome experience. Congratulations on the point increase and the pretty satin! All that patience paid off!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amazing!!! Well done, so happy for you two <3!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Again, I'm late to the party, but YES YES YES!!!! I am so bloody happy for you! Very very well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is never too late for the party! :) Thank you.

      Delete
  30. This is so fantastic! Well done! You deserve some major kudos for thoughtfully working through the challenges and making such big improvements over the weekend. The two of you look awesome!
    (I am still catching up on blog reading, but it's so awesome to read a post like this =) )

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.