It was freaky windy yesterday evening and all day today. We were actually under a wind advisory all day long. That doesn’t happen often here – I am happy to say! It was also unseasonably COLD. The horses wore their winter blankets last night – the same winter blankets I’d optimistically washed and put away for the season last week!!
Today was also a schooling show where Faeryn made her first level debut. Impulsion was NOT a problem. She did several small scoots forward when she had to turn with the wind up her tail! She HATES having the wind go up her butt! But, I operated just like I do at home when she bolts a little – I harnessed that energy to create bigger gaits/more impulsion. Faeryn can have super forward/impulsion – or she can run out of gas and go ‘splat.’ I think it’s mostly due to her fitness/strength level at this point. She is not naturally as strong as Fling – and I need to start doing ‘dedicated’ exercises to build energy/fitness. The perfect one for that, and to also lay foundation for collection, is to do small ‘foward and back’ at trot and canter.
At the show, Faeryn also took issue with the music in the arena! They were playing music in the arena during open schooling and even tho it was not loud, and it was fairly ‘calm’ music, every time she got near the speakers overhead she was NOT happy. This has happened several times at shows – the music really freaks her out. No freestyles for her! No loss, tho – I’ve never had the urge to do a freestyle. Too much work putting one together (I’d have to pay someone to do it as I am not the least bit musically inclined) and I have too many horses to try and show in ‘regular’ dressage to worry about adding anyting else to my plate!
I was proud of Faeryn yesterday, tho – there were many people in the warm up, and one clueless person lunging in the big middle of the warm-up, despite the fact there were acres and acres of field to do so. It had also rained just about the entire day on Saturday, so the warmup area and the competition arena had large puddles. In fact, the entire 15/20 meter circle right in front of the judge was just slop. It had a good base on it, tho, so it was not scary – but it was the consistency of pudding! After a little bit of time ‘acclimating’ to the puddles, Faeryn marched through them and was very businesslike when it came our turn in the arena. When we were done she was covered with mud, and so were my boots and girth!
I thought our first test, First 1, was just a tad out of control, and I also got ‘lost’ during the walk since I could not hear what the caller was saying due to the wind! (no matter how well you think you know the test ‘on paper’, it’s a whole ‘nuther thing when you have to ride it the first time at a show!) Her trot and canter lengthenings really aren’t ‘there’ – we’re faking it now. She hasn’t ‘gotten’ the idea of taking longer strides instead of quicker strides – common problem at this stage of training. At some point the ‘lightbulb’ will go off and she’ll get it. She got a 61 and was 2nd in her class.
Our second test, First 2, went much better I thought. Her canter work was really good, she had good bending and her leg yields were good too. She stayed connected better – and our scored showed – a 63.6 for first place.
When I left, she had the highest score of all the first level rides so far, but not all had been scored. The show manager, who watched many of the rides, thought the scores were a little low. I didn’t care – Faeryn was a good girl, went in there and did her job and got several 8s on our second ride – mostly for her canter departs and canter circles! It’s improved a lot lately. What hurt her most were her canter lengthenings – as I expected.
Her next show will be in April.
Fling has been working well this week. When I finally started insisting she carry herself and use her rear, she stepped up to the plate. Her half passes are better – both trot and canter. She is consistently getting her changes – every once in a while she’s a tad late behind, but I’m not worried about that. Physically,she’s very fit and very ‘buff.’ She doesn’ have an ounce of fat on her – and today I increased her feed a bit because she’s working really hard.
Faxx was Mr. Fussy the last time I rode him, but everyone’s entitled to a crabby day. He’ll make his first level debut in April at a schooling show.