You guys, we are fabulous. Seriously, Nilla and I are so good at dressage, you’re gonna be jealous. I dunno if you can even handle this.
Since I know you need time to brace yourself for our majesty, let’s back up a bit. This weekend my husband and I went to the Autumn Horse Trials at Eventful Acres. There was quite a bit of drama in signing up for this event, but it all got sorted out in the end. Unfortunately, my husband actually had to work on Friday so I had to drive the horses up by myself. It was a long, but traffic-free drive and when I arrived, I was greeted with the best perk.
Because they have to fit a lot of people in, the owner comes around and tells you exactly where to park. When he pulled up, he asked how my back up skills were and I said basically nonexistant, so he parked my trailer for me. I actually could have done it myself as this entire area was empty when I arrived, but I’m happy to get help if it’s offered. I proceeded to watch him park a lot of other people’s trailers all day.
Due to traffic, my husband didn’t arrive until 7. With sunset at 7:10, we had only a little bit of time to ride before it got dark, which was unfortunate as I hadn’t ridden Nilla since Wednesday and we could have used more time.
Saturday morning I gave myself a lot of time to warm up. Well, it was a lot of time for me, so like 30 minutes. Warm up started really well with me forgetting to take Nilla’s hock boots off and being called over by the ring steward. Thanks husband/groom for noticing that. Anyway, Nilla was absolutely in a mood. I think the warm up area being a field that is part of the cross country course might have been contributing as she was on fire.
She tried to bolt a few times, insisted on bucking during canter departs and at one point decided she could not possible canter on the left lead. The steward asked if I could go early as one of the people before me had showed up really late and needed some more warm up time. Unfortunately, I really needed to at least establish that left lead existed before I could go. I did eventually get that corrected, but the competitor who needed more time had just entered the ring at that point.
Unfortunately, this person seemed to be doing BN A instead of BN B and went off course right away. The judge corrected her, she started again and went off course again because she must not have had BN B memorized. So a caller was found and that caller then forgot to tell her to canter between F and A so she got an off course ding again. OMG. I felt sooo bad for her. It’s bad enough to go off course, but to have your caller mess you up? That really sucks. They looked really good when they weren’t going off course.
My husband, who had been watching Nilla’s antics, told me at least you can place ahead of that person. And I was like, “actually… going off course only gets you 2 faults; how many do you think I’ll lose for bucking?”
Given the antics during warm-up, I was actually pretty impressed with the non canter parts of our test. Nilla was relaxed (for her) and not going a million miles per hour. After watching the video from Camelot, I was really trying to concentrate on going slower at the trot.
I felt like it was pretty good. We got two 7s and a 7.5 for our trot work. And then we went to canter. Now brace yourselves readers, because this is the majesty you’ve been waiting for:
This is possibly my favorite picture of us doing dressage ever. No seriously, I cannot stop laughing looking at this. It has everything: there’s a giant flopping mule tongue, WTF are my hands even doing, her ears are literally flopping with the velocity of the head shaking, the amount of downhill is enough to give a western pleasure horse competition, and the tail. I’m pretty sure this picture sums up dressage for me and Nilla.
My husband missed a shot of the outright buck that proceeded this, but you can see the attitude. I feel like 4.5 might actually have been too generous. But I suppose it was a schooling show. Canter in the other direction was marginally better but it certainly wasn’t great. For the second depart I did get my new favorite comment of “humping in depart.”
Somehow I managed to get a 6.5 for the free walk. My husband’s comment was “I think her head actually went up during free walk.” I agreed with him, but I’m not going to file a protest with the judge, so I’ll take it.
I thought our halt was better than Camelot, but it still wasn’t good. She just did not want to stand still. Our final score was 38, which put us tied for 4th out of 6. The 6th person scratched (the one with all the off course errors) so tied for 4th was really just tied for last. Whatever, dressage was seriously the least of my concerns. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about my true concerns.
At least the scribe liked Nilla: