They are all just schooling shows, but all are important for different reasons.
Tomorrow Faeryn goes to a nearby farm to show Second Level Test 3 for the first time. This is a prep for the Houston Dressage Society Schooling Show Championships being held Dec. 17-18 at the Great Southwest Equestrian center. She is working well, but she is still not ‘hitting on all cylinders’ every day on all the different components of the Second 3 test. The shoulder-in to renvers is so much better than it was, but getting a good renvers out of the shoulder in to the left is not as good as the opposite way. Her 10m canter circles are still sometimes a struggle because she still has a tendency to drift out the shoulders and is not taking as much weight on the inside hind as she needs to. The canter to walk and walk to canter transitions can be very good but some days are better than others. Second 3 is sort of an odd test because you have to come to a walk along the rail, and then pick up the ‘wrong’ lead, counter canter for a bit, and then do a 20 meter half circle on the counter canter, and then straighten them to set up for doing a short diagonal to get yourself back on the ‘correct’ lead. I sat and watched many riders do this test back in April when I volunteered at the HDS Spring show and many, many horses had trouble with that counter canter depart along the rail. It has never been difficult for Faeryn and i think it is because she never learned that when she is on the rail, she should be on the inside lead. I ride her in the field so much, she has not made that connection! So she listens to me to ask her for the canter depart AND the lead as well. Her turns on the haunches are very good, both directions.
Faxx is doing well. today he got very connected. He is still not 100% connected, and my back is still too stiff on some days to do a lot of sitting trot. He is sort of in between first and second level. He can actually do a better canter 10m circle than Faeryn, because his canter is more balanced, even though he is bigger. His shoulder in is coming along, and I have started asking him to move from shoulder in to half pass at the walk. Today I started doing more ‘forward and back’ at the trot and he got very good at coming back just from me using my core. He is a lot more horse to ‘put together’ for second level than Faeryn is. he is also not as ‘hot’ off my aids as Faeryn. He is just not as reactive as either of the girls, and the challenge is to be able to make him more reactive without upsetting his connection and throughness. I am in no hurry with him. He will show first level at recognized shows next year (finances willing!) and aim for schooling shows at second level sometime mid-year.
And, ready or not, Fling is going to show Fourth level test 1 at a schooling show on Dec. 11!