Monday, June 27, 2011

Red's & Blue's almost all the way!

Well we survived our first BIG dressage show. I showed up on friday feeling a tad overwhelmed and wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. We had a good ride and then got Brigit settled in. I didn't sleep much that night because I was trying to so hard to remember all my tests. I was paranoid that I would forget!

Saturday morning was windy but Brigit seemed fine in the warm up. I was absolutely paranoid that I would forget where I was going so I convinced someone to read for me. I went in to do my first test and Brigit was suddenly HOT and super wound up. I had to fight her for every downward transition (or so it felt like) and coming across the diagonal to X at the canter she desperately wanted to do a flying change so I struggled to prevent it. I didn't think we had that great of a ride at all and was a bit annoyed. I couldn't figure out what the issue was that was making her so hot and fussy.
Our second test was only about 40 minutes later and it went a little better although it was still a bit of a fight. I can tell when Brigit is upset because she curls her neck up and isn't light & responsive at all. When we got the comment sheet back from the judge we had a "Poll too low" or "Behind the vertical" about 15 times.... Dah!!

I went for lunch and had a pity beer because I really didn't feel that we did nearly as well as I know we can. Then I went to check the results to see how poorly we had done. Well let me tell you, I was SHOCKED and stood there with my mouth open staring at the wall when I read my score of 64.2% on my first test and 70% on my second!!! That meant we got 2nd place in the one class and 1st place in the other!!! Wow!!

I had to wait until about 4pm for my third ride on sunday so let Brigit wander and eat some grass and then went and bought a new manure fork for the trailer.... Something I ALWAYS forget at home.

Our third ride felt so much better. Brigit was a little more settled and everything went as it should...... Until our last transition, going from a canter to a trot and then down the center line. Well Brigit decided she'd had enough of this and would NOT trot. I was either going to get a walk or a teeny-tiny collected canter, no trot. I finally got it just as we turned to go up the centre line. I was so annoyed. I'm sure we would have had that class too if we could have gotten that last transition. Damn! Turns out the judge must have thought we did everything else very well and we got another 2nd place with a mark of 68.75%.

Saturday evening they had a "Gala" event and they asked me if I would do a sidesaddle demo. A friend of mine came too and we had lots of fun with it. Started out with a bit of a pattern and then just did whatever we felt like. Brigit definitely enjoyed just messing about much more than doing a test. She had some lovely flying changes, extensions and leg yeilds. After that they had steak for supper along with some wine! Yum!

Sunday morning I woke up to rain. I so wanted to just stay in bed but thought I'd better get up since I paid good money to be there. Our first test was at 8:30 am. Luckily for us the rain stopped just as I left the barn to ride and started again after we got back. Again Brigit was really upset and fussy in the warm up ring. I couldn't get her to stand for the life of me. She was pawing & stomping with her back legs. Even so I was still a lot happier with our ride than saturday's. We got all of our transitions where they should be and she was listening better. Still a touch hot but what can you do.

I had to wait until 3:30 for my next ride so I went to a friend's place for lunch and had a good visit. And then had the saddle fitter take some measurements on Brigit's back to see if they had any used saddles that would be suitable to try.

Our last ride of the day I figured I would just wing it. We'd done pretty well all weekend so it didn't matter how this last one went. I went down to the ring, got on, organized my apron and went in the ring. Surprisingly Brigit did SO much better without a warmup! We had our best feeling test yet. Brigit was much more normal, soft and listening a lot better. We nailed all of our transitions and I came out feeling really pleased. Great way to end our weekend!

I went and checked our results after I got the trailer all packed up and was again surprised to see that we'd gotten a 3rd (64%) in our first class and a 2nd (68%) for our second ride that day!

I really don't care how we place at the shows, I just want to put in a good ride and do as well as I know we can. The ribbons are just a bonus! I'm really proud of that 70% score, although I don't think it felt like a 70% ride lol. It's so frustrating to know that you can do a test so well at home and then come to a show and have it feel like you're riding a totally different horse. Obviously it wasn't as bad as I thought it was but most of our tests didn't feel as good as they could. I keep thinking, if only our rides could have been as relaxed and nice as they are at home.

A few things I'm going to work on are our stretchy trot & stretchy walk. I think if we could have gotten those, we would have scored even higher. In every test they were pretty bad. With Brigit being so hot, the attempted stretchy trot turned into "lets trot as fast as I can with my head up!" and our "free walk" was all over the place in terms of pace and where her head was; up, down, looking this way and that etc. If we can get those two things better, I think we'll be able to do even better! I think I've been bitten by the dressage bug!

Now here's the question.... How in the world do you get a slightly fracticious, hot mare to RELAX?!?! (My boyfriend suggested giving Brigit a beer with her lunch too LOL).

Anyways, enough of a novel, on to some pictures! Sorry there aren't more, I will hopefully get some more emailed to me soon.

Into the ring we go... (I like this pic, I look nice & skinny in it! haha)

Around the corner we come... I need to pick that inside shoulder up!

Our attempt at a "stretchy trot" The first half was nice but kind of fell apart after we crossed the centre line.

Across the diagonal we go.

These are the best pics, the rest of the pics are slightly blurry. Enjoy!


  1. Well done! Sounds like a jam packed & tiring weekend :)
    I have no useful suggestions about hot, fractious mares, except to say that I have one too and after 3 years we are still trying to master relaxation. Although I recently found thinking about my breathing helps, I tend to shallow breath when I get tense and Molly picks up on it.

    Those dratted stretchy circles - we need a support group! lol

  2. I was definitely tired when I got home last night. Made a quick bite to eat, got the truck/trailer unloaded & organized and then went to bed!

    I like it! We need a sidesaddle support group AND a stretchy circle support group! lol

  3. I am so envious! You and Leila both had such a great weekend...and here I am, stuck in bed doing nothing for the advancement of sidesaddle.
    But I get to ride vicariously through the rest of you, so keep posting pictures!

  4. Sure you're doing something! You're an inspiration for us all and provide a lot of support & info! Thank you for that! I hope you get feeling better soon, I'm sure you'll be riding as soon as you can again!

    I will definitely try to post lots of pics just for you!

  5. Actually, here's a question for you Robin. How would you suggest working on getting that relaxation/stretchy-ness with a wound up, hot horse?