Monthly Archives: May 2013

Fling at the Show

As soon as I started packing up to leave on Sunday Fling was on high alert and kept whinnying at me. I don’t know whether she was saying “Hurry up” or “Don’t forget me!”


62% at Fourth Level ….at a recognized show!!

Happy to report that I now have one of the Fourth Level scores I need toward mu USDF Silver Medal!  And of course I did not get a video of my ride!  My friend Kathy called my test and she said her trot work was much improved. She a minor meltdown after the second walk pirouette, where you have to then do canter depart. She just got stuck and was ‘piaffing’ but at canter! I was thinking we really screwed the pooch with that, but we had enough higher scores to make up for it. We had a few 4s, but just as many 8s. Very nice collective marks and judge commented “Nice horse who has much more—-get it!”  And the icing on the cake? I won my class of two!!

Sunday we rode outdoors and she was so UP when I hand walked her around the grounds that morning I decided to get on her a little earlier than usual. Wrong. She was obedient and listening from the start – and then the ring was 20 minutes behind schedule. I left my good test in the warmup. When I asked for canter depart to start my may down centerline to do the test, I could just feel her fall flat. It did not help either that when we halted at X – and Fling was about to explode forward to trot..papers blew off the judge’s table and the judge and the scribe are yelling and waving their arms saying “Stop!”  And I sat there on Fling, who is practically on her toes waiting to trot forward for what seemed like an eternity. But she did not move or back up. That definitely rattled me – but mostly it was just she was tired. She does not get tired in the ‘I don’t want to go” way – she gets tired and falls on her forehand but still has lots of go. not a good combination! LOL!  She blew both flying changes and we ended up with a 55%. The good news? We beat the other person in our class who had a 53. So I was the best of the worst!

I have noticed it is a pattern that Fling does worse the second day of shows. So I think my new strategy is to just show one day. Being cooped up in a stall is Fling’s version of hell.

Now I just have to figure out when we will try this again.

Debbie Bowman Clinic – Fling

It was hotter than blazes today. We’ve had an unusually long cool spring and WHAM! Summer hit like a sledge hammer and nobody – horses or humans – had a chance to gradually adapt. It didn’t help that my ride was at 4:30! 

Today we worked on trying to improve her medium and extended trot and canter. Besides the canter to halt transition at X, the other difficulties for her in Fourth level are the extended canter – especially since it comes at the VERY end of the Fourth 1 Test, she either is so wound up she is a freight train, or she’s tiring and wants to fall on her forehand. Debbie has been trying to get me to ‘flatten’ (or round, as I call it) my lower back. I am naturally pretty swaybacked. By thinking about pushing the lower back OUT, it pushes my seat down onto her back more firmly, which helps a lot in keeping her more up in front during the mediums/extended. Debbie also said to take baby steps – develop it one stride at a time so she does not just rush. Also on the subject of feeling like she is resistant – Debbie says resistance comes from not being supple enough. Not that she is being uncooperative – I just need to work more on her suppleness so she CAN respond to my half halts. Fling was dripping wet by the time we finished and her saddle pad was also dripping wet – every square inch of it. She got a nice shower before loading up in the trailer and going home.

Tomorrow it’s Faeryn’s turn.

The Spindletop Show is a week away!

A Good Day At The Schooling Show

My trainer, Marie Morgan, always has a schooling show on Mother’s Day. It’s been a tradition for years, and now she uses it as a fund raiser for various women-oriented charities. She donates proceeds, and has a silent auction, a ‘mother’s ride’ at lunch, flowers for the moms, etc. It’s a lot of fun and I always go – and always spend too much money on the silent auction!!

I signed up to show Fling Fourth 1. It was the first time to show her at all since last December when I showed her at Marie’s Christmas schooling show (cleverly called “Dickens on the Sand,” a nod to our local Galveston holiday event, Dickens on the Strand,”)

Interestingly enough, Donna Meyer, a USEF licensed “r” dressage judge, who’s showing at FEI herself, officiated at that show – and also judged the Mother’s Day show. It was nice to be able to be able to possibly track progress.

I warmed Fling up in the outdoor arena and she was very good. Listening to me, obeying my half halts. All was well. However, when I rode into the covered arena  — only the same arena we take ALL our lessons in  – she turned into the proverbial freight train. Fling’s number one problem is trying to contain her energy and get her to listen to the half halts. As soon as I felt the train arrive at the station, I put her to work doing canter serpentine with ‘square’ turns and simple change at centerline. It is the one thing I have found that somewhat helps ‘defuse’ her when she gets soooo strong. I do this exercise every day at home – strong or not – because it helps her build muscle and balance and gives her the idea changes – even simple ones – CAN be done on the straight line, and the ‘square’ turns keep her shoulders upright. So, I was still doing these serpentines when the judge rang the bell – would have liked about 3 more minutes, but that’s show biz. She definitely did not work as well as she’s been working at home. With most horses, that’s a given, but Fling usually works almost to 100% even at a show. Her half passes were ok, but they were not as good as she does at home on a daily basis. She nailed one flying change  – yeah us! – but was at last a stride late behind in the other one. She still is not nailing the halt at x from canter, but our scores are better because even tho she doesn’t ‘stick the landing’ she is very, very much straighter than she has been.

So, you’re saying, what was the score already? A very respectable 62.7. And believe it or not, out of about 30 rides – none others at fourth, or third and only two at second, she had, I think, the fifth highest score of the show.

The take away? SHORTEN my reins. I keep them short fairly well at show, but you know how things ‘get away from you’ during a test. Also, quit worrying about ‘sticking the halt’ and worry more about super straightness in the canter and a really energetic, straight trot off afterwards. Do more haunches in to help the half pass – “haunches trailing’ was one of the comments – and rare for her.

Our collective marks were some of the best we’ve gotten at this level. Fling actually got a 6 on submission and I got a 7.5 on rider, and we got a 7 on harmony. Judges comments included “she really tries for you. Work for more suppleness over back for more suspension.”  Nothing new to me!  Now we have our homework. And we’ll be riding in a Debbie Bowman clinic this weekend.

Fling shows at a recognized show Memorial Day weekend. 


Oh, and last December we scored a 58% for our Fourth 1 ride under the same judge.