My husband had a more successful show experience than Levi and I did. When we first started showing Eugene he would get super excited at shows. It was nearly impossible to get good work out of him as he went into a stressed and frantic energizer bunny mode. It’s the main reason we started going to so many H/J shows even though we’re not interested in hunters; we really just wanted to expose Eugene to as many shows as possible. He has gotten a lot better. At this point he can really keep his brain in his head at shows. He can chill out, leg cocked, waiting for his rounds. He still sometimes starts out in the warm up a bit energetic, but he does that at home sometimes too. The improvement has been very impressive and well worth the time and expense and the occasional loss of opportunity to do something else that might be more fun (like a trail ride). However, Eugene remains tense in dressage tests at shows in a way he isn’t at H/J shows. So this year we are going to try to go to as many dressage schooling shows as possible, although there aren’t a lot of them in our area.
One noticeable improvement is Eugene’s approach to the judge’s booth. He so consistently spooks at the judge’s booth that I had the camera running, but he just walked on by this time.
Of course he’s still tensed back up when it was time to start the test.
Beginner Novice A
1. A-X-M Enter working trot at M Track left
Judge’s Comments: “steady”
2. E Circle left 20 meters
Judge’s Comments: “above the bit 1st half”
3. Between K and A Working canter left lead
Judge’s Comments: “could have better balance”
4. A Circle left 20 meters working canter
Judge’s Comments: “inconsistent connection”
5. Between F and B Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “fairly straight but braced”
6. Between M and C Medium walk
Judge’s Comments: “a bit tense”
7. H-X-F Free walk
Judge’s Comments: “needs more swing and reach to cover more ground”
8. Between F & A Develop medium walk
Judge’s Comments: “braced covers more ground now”
9. K Working trot at E Circle right 20 meters working trot
Judge’s Comments: “leaning in unsteady”
10. Between H and C Working canter right lead
Judge’s Comments: “obedient could have better balance”
11. C Circle right 20 meters working canter
Judge’s Comments: ” hurried, leaning”
12. Between M and B Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “above the bit”
13. K-X-G Onto centerline
Judge’s Comments: “unsteady”
14. G Halt through walk, salute
Judge’s Comments: “fairly straight. don’t salute with whip in hand”
Submission: 5.5 – “needs balance and suppleness”
Final Score: 37.22
When I was practicing the tests on my phone, I mentioned to my husband how I didn’t really like the abrupt transitions in the BNB. You go from canter circle at E to trot between E and H. In the old test, you didn’t have to transition to trot until after E or B when circling at A or C; you had more time to get organized after your circle. For the second transition down, you go from canter circle at E to trot between E and K and then walk between K and A. It feels really rushed to me. My husband had actually practiced the tests by riding them and said it wasn’t that bad. Then he went into the test and did all of those transitions late because he forgot where they were and he felt like they came up too quickly to be right. The judge was pretty generous. For the first late transition, she just circled the letters. For the next one he got a comment and a reduced score and for the final late one, you could tell she was mad.
Beginner Novice B
1. A-X-H Enter working trot at H Track right
Judge’s Comments: “slight resistance at x”
2. C Circle right 20 meters, working trot
Judge’s Comments: “could be more connected to connection”
3. B Half circle right Between center line & E 20 meters Working canter right lead
Judge’s Comments: “resists aids”
4. E Circle right 20 meters working canter
Judge’s Comments: “flat”
5. Between E and H Working trot
Judge’s Comments: counter flexed above bit”
No picture because they were late (this lateness just got circled)
6. M-X-K Change rein, working trot
Judge’s Comments: “tightening through topline”
7. A Circle left 20 meters working trot
Judge’s Comments: “maintain connection”
8. B Half circle left, Between center line & E 20 meters Working canter left lead
Judge’s Comments: “anticipates canter with transition”
9. E Circle left 20 meters working canter
Judge’s Comments: “leaning in above the bit”
10. Between E and K Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “late transition”
11. Between K and A Medium walk
Judge’s Comments: “late again”
no picture because it was so late
12. F-X-H Change rein, free walk
Judge’s Comments: “could have more stretch to improve overstep”
13. Between H and C Develop medium walk
Judge’s Comments: “could have better connection”
14. M Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “counterflexed”
15. A Down center line
Judge’s Comments: “very straight”
16. X Halt through the walk, salute
Judge’s Comments: “against the hand”
Rider: 6.0 – Accuracy!
Final Score: 38.5
Pretty decent score given all the late transitions. I think they could have done pretty well without the errors. I’m sure we’ll be doing these two tests a lot more this year.
Eugene is just so genuine! You all got so lucky to find him.
He was a great find.
Sounds like a great learning day for Eugene and the hubs! I think dressage would make me nervous too. I feel you Eugene.
How is hunters more relaxing?
There’s just a lot less to be thinking about with the hunters. I mean, in the flat class, just go forward and don’t run into anyone! And over fences, the courses are pretty simple to remember. Harder in the jumper ring of course, but still. Dressage has to be perfect every single piece of the body every single step. So much opportunity for angst!
I feel like hunters gives me angst. I feel like everything is being judged in hunters: my clothes, my braiding job, my horse’s demeanor, my tack. In dressage it’s just how well we do the thing. I’m sure I’d be more comfortable at Hunters if I did them often enough and was good at all the spiffy looking stuff.
Dressage stresses me out too. All that judgement going on and all. He looks fantastic though
He’s definitely getting better
Eugene looks so excited to be there lol. Sounds like it was still a successful outing!
He’s excited to go anywhere.
i can see the diff in Eugene though he is finally getting it! Seriously sure he doesn’t have it all correct yet but it is so much more giving and just pleasurable to look at. I am so pleased that he was so good! (And sure we all mess up!! I do all the TIME LOL)….but I do like the way Eugene is really starting to carry himself…..YAY
He gets better every time.
If it’s not already on your radar, take a look at the schooling series put on by KM Dressage in Gilroy (at Gilroy Gaits) and Seven Oaks in Portola Valley. The Seven Oaks shows are quite casual.
The Gilroy ones are on my calendar. I didn’t know Seven Oaks had dressage shows; I’ll check that out.
I don’t think they have dates yet for this year but they usually have one a month from April to October. http://www.sevenoaksfarm.com/shows.html
I’ll keep checking for the dates
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