The dressage class that I entered in on Sunday went really well. Lizzie is the consummate pro. She can be a miserable bitch at home, but she understands, and enjoys, performing. She went straight into the trailer, stood quietly and ate hay until I was ready to get her out, then stood quietly while being tacked up, not calling to the other horses or getting excited, then went into the warmup ring and worked calmly with all the other horses around her. When it came time for us to go into the main ring for our test, she ignored the white rails, the judge’s box, the flowers, etc., and did a very workmanlike test. She was amazing…she knows her job. I think she could have gone in alone and done her test (and probably scored higher than we did together!)
We had major errors on both canter sections, which brought our overall score down to 60%, but she got 7’s on most everything else. On the first canter circle, she stumbled badly and scrambled to stay off her knees, so the long canter side after that was horrible, as I was trying to claw back the reins and get her straight. The next canter bit was on her stiff side (she’s been worrying me – I think I need to have her back checked) and she refused to take the right canter lead. I tried to get a flying change, then brought her down to a trot and tried again, to no avail. I’ve never, ever had her do that.
Overall, I was very happy. It was an Open Prelim class, so even though it was at a low level, there were a lot of very good riders there with young warmbloods, so we did quite well considering (just out of the ribbons, seventh overall). My score sheet is in the Frontera, so I can’t refer to the notes, but the judge’s comments went something like “A lot to like overall, but need to work on getting her more into self-carriage and balance”…I can’t remember the rest.
The next show is in three weeks, so I should have time to work out the issues that we obviously had at canter. All in all, a good start, and a few obvious things that we need to work on. Plus it was fun – what more could you ask? :)