Friday, February 13, 2015

FCHP Part 2: Dressage

Well, today was interesting.

When I put a saddle on Danny and took him up to the warm-up just to see what we were dealing with, he decided he’d never really been ridden before. Steering? 10%. Brakes? 0%.

We cleared out one of the warm ups pretty thoroughly with our spontaneous explosions upwards, spiral-ways, and sideways.

So after working up a pretty good sweat, a near fall (what the heck Danny, tripping on your own feet!), and a slight overall improvement of behavior, we took him back to the stall.

Then we watched some of the CIC dressage, which is always really fun. I love how lithe event horses are - so often upper level dressage horses look a little bound, a little constrained, but good eventers (and good dressage horses, really!) look so ready to dance or to run or to leap or whatever comes next.

Lucy has been a lovely horse show dog, tolerating being tied to a wall quite well and only occasionally trying to bite Bert’s nose.

The cross country course seems really flowing with a lot of nice, wide approaches, so I’m definitely looking forward to riding it on Sunday!

When I brought Danny out for his test, I focused on trying to get and keep him supple. Between his violent spin/spooks and the constant whinnying, a quiet warm-up was tough. We did okay at the walk and trot but I did not end up cantering him (except when he bolted) because I was really nervous about his explosions and there were so many horses in the arena that I felt certain I’d kill someone if Danny suddenly shot sideways.

The ring steward says there’s almost 300 horses at this event, which seems incredibly substantial for an event.

Danny’s test was awkward. And clumsy. I didn’t get any of my transitions where I wanted them, he was PETRIFIED of the flower boxes, and corners were certainly going to eat him. “Oh well,” I told myself as I was leaving the arena, “that’s the worst dressage test you’ll ever have to ride.”

We did surprisingly okay though, with 40 penalty points. The judge added that he looks tense with his short steps so I shouldn’t be afraid to push him out a bit more. I’ll definitely focus on adding a proper lengthening button to his repertoire.

Bert was a camel. The second I mounted up, his head was a million miles in the air. In fact, I didn’t even know he could put his head that far up. I had to lean a little sideways to see around his giant head. He warmed up okay, with a lot of sudden head-throwing-sideways action. I have to remember that this is really his third show ever. Both his and Dan’s, actually.

He did better throughout the warmup although by the time we entered the ring he was absolutely lathered. The test rode okay, even though I couldn’t get him into the corners and our transitions were weebly. We recieved 35.3 penalty points, but the comments from the judge said that he’s a “magnificent, well-balanced horse who tries too hard.”

I’m sorry, what? But I’ll take the not-last-place scores even if I never once thought to myself, “oh, aren’t you magnificent!”

All’s well. Our internet still sucks, and probably will until I get home, so no photos yet.


  1. Danny's Dressage test sounds like Connor's first Dressage test. Those are pretty good scores, all things considered! Nice comment from the judge, that had me laughing.

    1. All things considered, I think I got a very generous judge! I laughed pretty hard when I got her comments!

  2. awesome - sounds like the work you've been putting into these guys showed, even if they didn't warm up at their best. and 300 entries doesn't surprise me, actually - we can easily get around 120 for an unrecognized event around here... it's kind of nuts! good luck and can't wait to read more

    1. Ahw, thank you very much. Sometimes I get so focused on what it could have been that I don't pay attention to where we've come from. (Part of my purpose in starting this blog, actually.)