Morven Park Benefit Show recap

Saturday was pretty crazy. We got about 3 inches of rain and it literally poured all day long. I was feeling pretty unmotivated to go up to Morven with both boys, but I rallied. I had late times, so that didn’t help my motivation! Sam went first and did Second 1. He hasn’t been out since the last show in February, so that was a major factor that I was kind of expecting. Combined with the weather, it made for two awful tests. I felt like he needed more than 45 minutes warmup. He was just resistant and almost above the bit the whole time. Plus he was spooky because of the indoor and the rain pounding on the roof. So, we got a 60%. Then I had to hop off him fast and get Oh So ready for First 1 and 2. 

As I went into the warmup ring, a rider was starting his musical freestyle complete with James Bond themed music and vocals. Well, it came over the loudspeakers in the warmup arena and was a little odd. But Oh So actually held it together. I just started trotting and he gradually relaxed enough. I gave him about 45 minutes instead of an hour this time and that was enough. I worked through some leg yields and canter/trot transitions. I also made sure to do some free walk to medium walk to trot transitions too. The only thing I could have done differently was school a couple of stretchy circles and maybe gone a little more in my trot/canter lengthenings. 

First 1 was very good. He listened to me the whole time and didn’t have an ugly right canter transition! Probably for the first time ever! If anything, he was a bit behind the leg for his canter transitions, so I think I’ll maybe try a small pair of spurs at home to sharpen those up. But no head tossing, so that was a huge deal. We got a 66% on First 1 and then had a couple of tests to wait before First 2. I schooled some more leg yields and went in. He was pretty much the same, not tense at all. In both tests his stretchy circles were not the best, but that was my fault for not insisting on better ones in the warm up. His trot lengthenings are a work in progress and are mostly held back due to my lack of feel since Sam doesn’t have a good lengthening either. We got a 69% on First 2 and ended up winning both of his classes and getting reserve champion at first level for the series. He really did feel like a different horse. But I won’t rest on my laurels. We’ve done five shows in that indoor since November, so the next time we compete at Loudon, which will probably be outside, will be the real test.

I had to get back on Sam for First 3 and warmup again which was not ideal. He felt worse than the first test and I was the last rider of the day so I felt rushed. I barely had 30 minutes. So we got a 62 which was bad. Ever since his last set of hock injections I feel like we haven’t gotten our “groove” back. I feel like I’ve lost the correct feel on him and it’s frustrating because he’s always been the experienced steady guy and now it seems like he and Oh So are switching roles. I’m going to have my dressage trainer sit on him tomorrow and we might try riding in loose draw reins for a session or two just to let him know that he does have to stay round while I concentrate on riding his hind legs. Sometimes I get too focused on riding his front end, maybe because his neck is so short compared to Oh So. He ended up getting a second and third place ribbon and was second level champion for the series which was cool.

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