Thursday, August 21, 2014

No love from dressage judges

The time finally came, time for our Horse Trial!  Saturday was a combination of relaxing and hectic, while I wasn't super duper busy, my time was fully occupied and I wasn't able to do what I really wanted which was walk the cross country course.  As we went out to dinner with a group of people, my stomach started doing twists.  What if they had changed the cross country course from the prior weekend?   I had walked the course last weekend and knew it but surely they did, they changed the course from last weekend and I won't know where my fences are!  I stressed about it all night and debated about calling RB4 to see if she would come over an hour earlier so we could get there in time for me to walk the course but SO kept telling me it would be fine. Even if they HAD moved the course, I knew the property inside and out so stop stressing!

Sunday morning didn't go much better, I was super stressed and aiming to be there an hour before my ride time wasn't working out like I wanted.  TWH needs so little warmup I had figured I would reduce my time at the show.  I got TWH bathed and wrapped as RB4 showed up, I shared my stress and she scolded me for not calling her and having her come over earlier.  We got to the show and the show secretary made my day by saying the course was identical to the prior weekend.  PHEW!!!!!!!!!!

Alas I didn't have as much time as I wanted, however, the dressage rings were running a little ahead and I was behind.  Never again will I only leave an hour of time between arriving and showing!  I decided not to braid and instead got tacked up and hustled to the warm up.  TWH was doing pretty well overall, he was giving me pretty consistent transitions (yay!) and was fairly relaxed despite my uptight riding.  The more I tried to relax with breathing, the worse I was getting.  Great, BAD RIDER!!!!  Be all stressed when you have a horse that needs a calm, confident rider, this can't possibly go wrong?  We finally up next and the surprisingly test started out pretty good!  He was a bit more behind my leg than we had been in warmup but he was consistent.  Our free walk wasn't as good as we had been practicing but was decent.  Our first canter circle, however, something happened.  I still don't know what happened as the video doesn't show it but TWH spooked at something.  His head went WAY up and his back end went WAY down and he almost took off before getting back together and a stride later he was pretty composed.  RB4 says it was over in almost a blink of an eye, the entire episode had the time span of 2 canter strides.

The down side?  The test went downhill from there.  TWH was quite upset over whatever it was and didn't give me a good canter/trot transition.  He was tight and nervous over the diagonal and hesitant to pick up the opposite canter lead, it took almost 3 trot strides before he picked it up!  That isn't a lot for a lot of people, but it is a lot for TWH as he always picks it right up.  Immediately.  Our last canter/trot transition wasn't good either, he gaited for 2-3 steps before trotting up the centerline.  Damn.

We walked back to the trailer, I had only 60 minutes before cross country.  We sat him in front of the hay bag while I looked at the video and kicked myself ruining the ride for him.  Stupid stressed rider didn't help him in the test.  Bad, bad rider.  We got him ready for cross country and I was finally not stressed, dressage is our hardest part of eventing!!  We warmed up and he did great, before we knew it we were on course.  Fence 1, 2 and 3 were easy fences (even though 3 was awfully big haha!).  4 required a trip up a BIG ass hill to a set of barrels at the top and you can't really see the landing side.  It had given a ton of refusals at the previous show held there and apparently quite a few refusals at this show.  TWH sucked behind my leg but a good strong leg urged him forward and over we went :)  We went DOWN the BIG ass hill to immediately go up another BIG ASS hill and went to 5.  6 went better than expected, it was a ditch and TWH didn't come to a COMPLETE stop (although it was damn close lol) and the 3 stride after the ditch rode well.  Damn ditches.  7, 8a and b, 9 and 10 were all easy but by this time we were getting tired.  Should have gotten 2 point up to 6 mins, bad rider!  11 was a the bottom of a big hill and then a U turn to go up a small hill to bop up a bank.  12 was into water and 13 was a jump out of water, easy peasy.  14 was funny b/c TWH approached it like he was drunk, he was locked onto the beginner novice fence and I had to keep putting and repointing him to the novice jump!  Finally 15 came and went and we were double clear in cross country.  Yahoo!

We wandered back to the trailer and settled in for a 2.5 hour wait for stadium, time to recharge and get the dressage score!  Walking up to the scoring trailer I shook my head.  Damn it, we were 13th out of 17 with a dressage score of 44.  44!  That is our worst score yet!  Damn it, my bad riding done screwed us up and this judge did NOT seem to like TWH.  The best I could hope for is people to have issues with jumping.


  1. eek leaving me on the edge of my seat!

  2. That sucks!! I'm sorry you were so stressed. I get like that about things so I understand. I'm glad cross country was awesome!