Friday, November 25, 2011

The Davis Derby

In my last post I was explaining how sure I felt about the Derby. Then I went and stopped riding! My great dressage lesson had been the Sunday before, and then with the time change taking away all my daylight, I couldn't ride a single day that week. Of course being a Saturday meant I couldn't even ride the day before. Ugh.

Despite my best efforts to get out there early and even getting up 10 extra minutes early, I was late. (I lost my keys and then left a bag at home and had to go back.) I had hoped to be on 45 minutes to an hour before my ride so that I could have a solid half hour warm up and still be over to the ring to collect my thoughts 10 minutes before my ride time. If that had happened, I think we would have done ok. Instead, I frantically raced over to sign a release form while my friend tacked up Bear. I raced back over to throw boots on and grab everything that I needed. I found my parents on the way over to the warm up arena, which was great since I suddenly realized that I had left my number at the trailer so I sent one of them back. By the time I got the the warm up arena Bear was jumping out of his skin! He was SUPER excited. I tried to go straight to a trot warm up hoping that I could get him worked down a bit in the little warm up time that I had, but no such luck. Instead of transferring his energy into a forward trot it was like there were little sparks of energy shooting off fireworks in unexpected directions. He went sidewise, he canted in place, he was WAY to light in the front like he could go up at any time. I could have worked through it with a good walk warm up and strategic exercises, but I had about 5 minutes and couldn't figure out the best plan of action. Pretty soon I was being called to head over to the ring. Okay, this would be interesting! Here's his camel impression!

So needless to say, things did not go well! I managed to lower my score from our debut ride a few weeks before. It was ugly, and felt horrible. He tried his best to leave the arena the first time we past A, and I think we were probably far enough out to have been considered leaving the arena! At least it was a schooling show. What a shame.

It did not go well, but some days surviving is good enough! This was the naughtiest I have ever seen him, tense at best with that feeling he might explode out from under me! My favorite comment from the judge was "mildly disobedient" when he threw one of his tantrums, but on the rider's note I got "quietly and tactfully ridden." We managed a few decent pictures of trying to fake it. Our little bitty trot and bulging under-neck muscles was not the goal, but at least he wasn't going sideways!

He went back to the trailer and got to snack on hay for a while before heading out for jumping. I wasn't nearly as worried about the jumping since it was such an easy task, but he was just as explosive in the warm up arena there. I don't think I even cantered him. He was hot, tense, sucked back and behind my leg. If I tapped his butt to go forward, he'd buck, which got him several more taps. Ugh. We also completely obliterated one of the warm up fences which got him to be a whole lot more careful and actually jump the fences.
When we finally got out into the arena he was still feeling like he was sparking unexpectedly, and you can see he had a great "firework" at the beginning trying to get to the first fence! BAD spook, but I was very impressed with our recovery. He walked past it, and even trotted past when we circled back again. Luckily this was all before our round and once we got started, he did quite well.

I think we have a whole lot of potential. It will be a lot of fun to really get him started over fences this winter. This was meant to give us some experience with show ground atmosphere, and interesting jumps. As much as he overreacted to the silly pile next to the arena, he didn't even look at the scary jumps with flowers! So as an exposure exercise it was a success, I just didn't get out of him what I was hoping for. That will come. We survived. Then we had a kick-ass lesson the next week to make up for it! He's got some fantastic potential for dressage! I just need the time to tap into it. Can't wait!

1 comment:

Karen said...

Been there done that! Also gotten a "tactful" rider comment from a judge. :) It will get better.