My week was filled with dressage, working to try to nail our transitions and get as best of a trot as possible. At our last show there were 3 separate comments about the TWH's irregular/uneven trot steps and I wanted to get his dressage as good as possible. Thankfully he was cooperative and we had great rides, with some lasting only 30 minutes because he was being so good! I was also able to get his fitness up to 5 minutes of canter at the end of our rides. It took until the last ride to do it, we went from 3 minutes of canter to 4 and had to stay there several days but the day before our show I was able to canter 5 minutes and he recovered nicely. Fitness success! Have I mentioned that 5 minutes of cantering is a LOT longer then you would think?!? Thankfully I have a timer on my phone that I am using to help judge my time but there were times I swore the timer just wasn't moving lol.
On Saturday I drove the 1.5 hours and walked the XC course so I could see how things were. Best Decision Ever. A friend of mine that went to the show with me didn't walk the course until the day of the show and ended up having to run her XC course out of order because it took so long to walk. I was happy to see that most of the jumps used were ones I had schooled over the previous weekend and I didn't have any real concerns about any particular fence. I just knew to be cautious over the small ditch and to really push him into the water. I also knew it would be a challenge because the course was lengthened to 2000m instead of 1500 so he would be cantering over 6 minutes instead of 5. I was seriously concerned about his stamina!
Sunday morning I awoke 15 minutes before my alarm went off to my cell yelling at me, my helper was cancelling because she was ill so I now had to do everything myself in the time I had allotted for a helper. I rushed outside and bathed the TWH halfheartedly, he was mostly clean and no one noticed lol. I then threw him in cross ties and braided him up and while it could have benefited from a redo, I had no time so in the trailer he went and off we went. I was SO happy I had taken the time to pack the trailer/cooler the night before, if I hadn't I would have been in deep trouble. The spot where you trailer/stall is a good 15-20 minute walk from the dressage ring so as soon as I got there I immediately groomed him, tried to "fix" his braid as much as I could, tacked up and headed over. Even with trot/cantering over to dressage I got there only 10 minutes before my time to ride. The show karma was awesome to me however and they were running 10 minutes behind which gave me plenty of time to warm up. I am not sure if I have ever been so happy to have them run behind haha!
I worked the TWH in his canter/trot transitions as he was being resistant to the trot cue and was continuing to canter but we got it sorted out right before our time in the arena. Finally the bell rung and it was our turn, he gave me a nice trot down the centerline and bent nicely into the corner. Success! Our trot circle was okay but our canter circle was great. When I asked for the down transition I waited and he not only gave it to me, he gave it to me without any shuffle steps! Our freewalk could have been better with a lower, stretched head but he still got a 7 on the movement. Gotta love his natural overstep haha! Our trot transition after the freewalk was a little icky and I had to really push him to get him into a true trot resulting in our only 5 but our trot circle went much better and got a 7. Our canter transition wasn't great but the rest of the test was. I was so pleased with him I would say that was the best dressage test he has ever given me at a show!
It took them For. Ev. Er. to post the dressage scores, they waited until right before our stadium jumping class before post it. Once again our dressage test has "Uneven trot steps" and "loss of rhythm" comments about his trot however we were still able to obtain a score of 36 (lowest score wins). Anything in the mid 30's is really good and it put us as tied for 5th going into cross country out of 14 competitors!! Time to head back to the trailer and get ready for cross country!