Bouncing Around Baby Novice

2014-05-17 11.20.14

OK, so I’ve run out of creative titles and am going with alliteration!

But that title pretty accurately represents my Saturday with Bear at Morningside.

We had another early ride time before 9am and I kept him in the night before after a couple hours of turnout in the evening. Combined with the cool weather and the bigger atmosphere at Morningside, I knew he’d be a little up first thing in the morning.

There were a few trailers when we pulled in and he was definitely looky. I decided to get on about an hour before our test to walk over to the show area and let him have a look.

He was on his toes on the way over there, definitely a different side of him I haven’t seen before!

We watched a few horses do their dressage tests, then walked back and by that point, he was building. We had a few “baby” moments in the warmup ring where I wish I’d had my martingale on, then Lisa got there and we got down to business.

Once he was moving he focused the best he could considering the stimuli. He was grinding his teeth a bit, but we worked through walk, trot and canter, keeping the connection and making sure he was staying slower rather than quickening.

We walked over to the ring a few minutes before our test and worked in the arena on footing. He was totally focused by that point, but in hindsight, I should have asked for another couple of canter transitions before we went in for the test because he wasn’t sharp off my leg.

We got 8s on the centerline and the first trot circle, which was pretty cool. As we got to the corner for our left canter transition, he was totally dead to my leg and I had to kick and squeeze to get him into it. 4. Oops!

I also had to give him a reminder tap with the whip during the circle. 5. Resistant.

We don’t quite have a free walk yet so we got a 6 on that, but when I gathered him up for the trot transition, he stayed fairly connected in walk, which is good for him at this point in his training. I haven’t been insisting on that connection in walk because my dressage trainer Nicky doesn’t think he needs to be that connected yet, but Lisa wanted to see a little more, so I asked and he yielded.

I had some more trouble getting into the right lead canter and clucked at him, and the judge noticed. Oops. 6.

We had a good transition down to trot on the long side, which I think is sort of difficult since I always ask on a circle, then couldn’t quite stayed balanced enough to turn down centerline, so we got a 5 on that and the halt since he was against my hand. Again, something we need to keep practicing.

We ended up with a 37.4 on Beginner Novice Test A. I think if we can fix the canter work, he could easily score below 35 and I’d be perfectly happy. He got a 7 on his gaits, so that was nice.

So now for the over-analyzing-even-though-he’s-4-and-I-should-just-be-happy-that-we-stayed-in-the-ring:

I’m at the point now in his training where he needs to be sharper off my leg. He always feels slow to me compared to Oh So, so I have to keep his natural rhythm in mind, but he can be a little lazy. Lisa suggested a small pair of spurs now. I’m working at home on getting him more forward and sharper off my leg, but it just didn’t translate at the show.

Of course, I’d rather have him slower than faster, but I literally got a cramp in my leg from asking him to canter during the test!

We also need to work on smoother turns onto the centerline and smoother transitions through walk into the halt.

I didn’t get a chance to walk the show jumping, so I was a little nervous. We warmed up on the track, which is tough because it’s hard to get in a rhythm, but he didn’t seem to mind. We hung out for a bit while other’s went before us, then went in.

We was a little high-headed and looking around but we made it over all the jumps and got all the distances! We didn’t get every lead, but we got some of them and he tried to change for others, so I think it was our smoothest round yet.

We ended up fourth.

We went up on the hill to play on the cross-country course, but there weren’t a ton of small jumps for us, so we worked over a small ditch and up and down some hills. He went in to the water on the first try and we trotted and cantered over a log on the edge of the water. Training level here we come! 😉

So overall, I was really happy with how he handled the atmosphere. It was a lot to throw at him with two dressage rings going, horses in the distances, tons of trailers and more than one horse in the warmup.

He keeps getting better every outing, so I’m dropping our first entry in the mail tomorrow for the Waredaca Starter Trial on June 8 at beginner novice.

I think we need a couple more cross-country schools, but at this point it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it. There aren’t any convenient unrecognized events until September and by that point, I think we’ll be ready for recognized beginner novice.

I’m off to my brother’s wedding in Dayton, Ohio this weekend, so the horses will have a few days off. Oh So is up to five minutes canter and his work ethic/submission is slowly coming back. I’ve got the vet coming soon to watch us ride and determine when we can start adding more work and maybe jumping.

I went to Jersey Fresh last weekend to cover it for COTH. It was a pretty nice weekend and I was happy with our coverage. It was a shame so many didn’t make it around the CCI*** course and that there were so few entries to start with. I did an extensive analysis of the event in the issue out this week.

2014-05-10 09.09.31 2014-05-11 13.34.41-2 2014-05-13 21.22.07 2014-05-09 15.56.58-2

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