Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dressage Day - First Time Through Tests

I printed out the two tests I'm going to show at the end of the month; Intro B and Training 1. I searched and searched and found the directives. I printed out arena diagrams and drew out the patterns to help me visualize them and memorise them. I read them over several times and then went out to school them as best I could remember. I knew the movements if not in the right order for both tests.

I got Dazzle, tacked up and hopped on. No spurs today, just a Dressage whip. Friday we rode with no spurs western and she was awesome. We walked around the rail, trotted, did some walk/trot/walk transitions trying to stay on the bit the whole time. She has a tendency to look shocked even though I've warned her with leg, seat, and rein aids before the change in gait. We got some calm transitions so we started the test. Intro B was first. We entered at A nicely, but she didn't want to halt at X so our down transition looked a bit violent. She then lurched her front end to one side instead of stopping straight and tried to walk off when I saluted. We trotted off pretty well. Tracked left. Did our circle at E. I was impressed with out geometry on the trot circles. Our diagnoal wasn't bad. Pretty straight, if not a steady rhythym. Our long-rein free-walk on two diagonals was really wobbly and she wanted to slow way down. We'll have to work on that one. Our halt at the end was straighter, but she still thought it was stupid to stop in the middle of the arena and she didn't want to halt on the bit.

Then we tried Training 1. We made it through the first trot circle then got to the part where you take up the canter in the corner. She took the RIGHT lead instead of the left. We tried again. She did it again. I gave up the pattern for a moment and rode her down to the center circle. She took the correct lead that time. We went back to trot and headed down the wall to try it again in the corner. She took th wrong lead again. I was getting frustrated, especially after how awesome she did the day before, so I trotted the circle at A until she felt straight and I could get the correct lead, then rode her to B and did our canter circle. She did the same thing on the 2nd canter circle. I was really discouraged, so I took her to the other end of the arena and made her work on the bit trot-canter-trot-canter until she did canter circles on the correct lead, both directions, on the bit. She did it fine there, so she must not like the something about the footing or something at the A circle. My arena is the corner of an alfalfa field and not level, so it's very possible it throws her off. Plus, my legs are pretty sore from riding so much this week after a month off. So I decided that maybe my muscles aren't doing what I'm telling them to and not cueing her like I think I am. So, it was very disappointing after the awesome western session yesterday. We'll get there, but I feel like I suck right now!

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