Despite the fact we’ve been under a heat advisory almost every day the past week, I got up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to take Faeryn to the Freestyle Farm schooling show in Fulshear – about an hour and a half away. I had a two-fold goal: First, to get another score at First level toward year end awards since we only have scores from two judges, and secondly, to get a score at second level to qualify toward the HDS Schooling Show Championships in Katy in December. I also wanted to see if we got comments about being behind the vertical or on the forehand like we did when she showed at the HDS recognized show back in June. I “think” those issues have been solved – but it is always good to get an unbiased opinion, especially since I cannot always ‘feel’ what is really going on.
Plus, our first outing at second level, back in June, was under a very nice, but overly generous judge and we got a 73. I wanted to see how we would “really” score! 😉
She got good scores with no comments about being behind the vertical. In the few times I could glimpse her in the arena mirrors during my warm up, she looked good to me in that department. So, hopefully that issue is ‘fixed.’ But, as I always say, in dressage, when you ‘fix’ one thing, something else ‘breaks.’ LOL!
Some of the most-repeated comments in this outing included “slightly braced’ and ‘tightness in neck.’ Now, it did not feel that way to me, and honestly don’t think these things have been an issue before. A runner-up in the comments was “could use more thrust.” That, I did feel and fully acknowledge. I felt like I did not have enough gas in the tank at this show. Whether it was the heat, a less-than-optimal fitness level due to our less-frequent riding schedule, or whether she was just _slightly_behind my leg – cannot tell. I will say she was listening to my half halts – if she had not been listing – I could very well understand the ‘braced’ or ‘tight in the neck’ comments. Faeryn would much rather me do a half halt with NO reins at all – but she has had to learn to _accept_ the half halt through the reins. Much of my warm up consisted of trot/walk transitions – many, many many – to get her listening to my half halt AND to get her balanced back to her haunches.
So to ‘cut to the chase’ – she got a 65.483 on First Test 3 and a 63.714 on Second Test 1. Perfectly respectable – but, she can do better.
She needs to ‘break through’ the ‘glass ceiling’ of 65% at First level. She had several 5s on both tests and when I can address those issues, there’s no reason she can’t score high sixties and maybe an occasional 70.
We are ‘throwing away’ points in our entry and exit halts. I used the small mirror in the warm up to address some of the problems with those – but they need to become an ingrained habit. She has gotten into the bad habit of halting and then swinging her haunches to the left. I think she does it more often than I realize and I have not taken every opportunity to tell her it’s NOT what I want. 😉 She needs to get stronger, especially in the canter. I need to start doing little forward and back transitions at the canter, and canter/walk and walk/canter. The other weak spot IS our simple changes in second level and I knew that going in – she really is not strong enough/ready to do them well yet. And that inspired another well-deserved comment from the judge.
However, all that said – I was very pleased with her. Those scores are respectable – especially her 63.7 (ALMOST a 64!) at second when she’s really not yet ready for the level.
Onward and upward. And now, could we please have more rain and less heat. Please.