Woodside International Horse Trials – Dressage

Going into this show, my husband’s goal was to do better than last time. Since last time Eugene decided 2 nights before dressage that he could no longer turn right, this seemed like a pretty achievable goal. Eugene still isn’t great at dressage even at home, but he gets extra tense at shows, especially ones with big, crowded warm up arenas. To help him settle down, we trailered in pretty early on Thursday and they did a lesson with Kate that afternoon and spent some additional time riding around their court. On Friday, they did a short lesson in the morning around 11:00, gave him another bath and let him relax for a few hours before the actual warm up and test at 4:00.


Because I was volunteering as a scribe in the afternoon, I braided Eugene before his first lesson. I’m pretty happy with how the braids came out, but I think I am going to try some wire next time. I’ve been experimenting with the running button braids because his mane likes to unwind itself from running braids. I really like the idea, but I need to practice more and get the sizing a bit more equal. Don’t worry, his forelock got tucked under the browband for his actual test.

1. A Enter working trot. C Track right
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch , horse braced on underneck”
Score: 6.0

Seems acurate

2. B Circle right 20 meters working trot
Judge’s Comments: “needs downstretch and bend. Too braced”
Score: 5.5

Parts of it were good

3. KXM Change rein
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch. Braced throughout”
Score: 5.5

This is just his default

4. E Circle left 20 meters working trot
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch. some head tossing”
Score: 5.0

Are you sending a theme in comments?

5. Between K and A Working canter left lead
Judge’s Comments: “too braced”
Score: 5.0

I would say hollow more than braced

6. A Circle left 20 meters
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch and bend”
Score: 5.5

This horse does not understand down

7. Between B and M Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “hollow affecting rhythm”
Score: 5.0


8. HXF Change rein working trot
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch. hollow”
Score: 5.0

I am thinking of having them experiment with different bits.

9. Between F and A Working canter right lead
Judge’s Comments: “slow to canter. Needs down stretch.”
Score: 5.0

Not sure why they were almost late to canter

10. A Circle right 20 meters
Judge’s Comments: “neck to outside. hollow on underneck”
Score: 5.5

This is the closest they ever got to the rail. Kate was watching with me and said “we need to to some geometry lessons”

11. Between E and H Working trot
Judge’s Comments: “ditto”
Score: 5.0

Eugene says he needs his head up to keep an eye on suspicious humans like me and Kate, who he has clearly never seen before.

12. C Medium walk
Judge’s Comments: (no comment)
Score: 7.0

Legitimately good. Especially for him.

13. M – E Free walk. E – K Medium walk
Judge’s Comments: “needs down stretch in FW”
Score: 6.5

This is actually more stretch than they usually get.

14. K Working trot.  A Down centerline
Judge’s Comments: “very hollow”
Score: 5.0


15. X Halt, Salute
Judge’s Comments: (no comment)
Score: 7.0

He (almost) always halts nicely.

Collective Marks
Gaits: 6.5
Impulsion: 5.5
Submission: 5.0
Rider: 5.5

Final Score: 43.8
Final Comments: “Determined duo needs to find and maintain a steady downward stretch over neck to properly display acceptance of contact.”

Kate and I watched the test together and both agreed that it was a lot better than the May HT. It wasn’t good, but it was an improvement. In addition to being able to turn right this time, Eugene was more relaxed and less dramatic. He was still a bit erratic. He’d go nicely for half the movement and then throw his head up or change pace. He really needs to get more consistent which will come with time. My husband felt like the test rode better and was happy to have an improved score.

12 thoughts on “Woodside International Horse Trials – Dressage

  1. martidoll123

    how bout a flash or drop nose band to try? I have a flash on Remus not that he needs it but every once in awhile he goes back to his go to move of BRACING and opening his mouth like Eugene so it might help. Not sure if you have tried.

    I think he is getting better. He is much steadier than he was when I first started following your blog. He looks cute braided too! Congrats on a well ridden test (husband and Eugene, sorry I just blanked on his name) HA!

  2. Eggiewegs

    Aww. Eugene, the sandbox isn’t so bad. Surely the judging booth ogres have already eaten their fill of cute bay llamas by now. Plus everyone knows that llamas are tastier than well-behaved horses. Best keep that head down just in case.

Comments are closed.