Last blog was how I DIDN'T go to the dressage show (or the hunter show, or ANY of the jumping lessons that I had planned) due to rain. Well besides raining on my parade regularly, the wet weather had one other unwelcome gift. The day before the rain date for the dressage show I found Bear three-legged lame! What does wet weather do to pasture ponies to ruin two jam packed weeks of horse events? You guessed it! Abscess. Not fun! Well it was fun for Bear. Instead of dressage show, jumping lesson, overnight cross country schooling, and our first horse trial, he mainly got to play with his pasture mates...
and gain some much needed weight!
Since we were only two weeks out from the horse trials we had to scratch. He ended up having a rather miraculous recovery time, but I couldn't have know how long it would be. Another horse at the barn came up lame with an abscess litteraly days before and took two weeks longer to trot out sound. Bear looked good a week before the local Derby, so we had a quick prep before showing our first dressage tests of the year. We did Intro Test C and Beginner Novice Test A, and the day of the show I decided to add in the cross rail class.
The first test went well, despite a lack of warm up time. Unfortunately he just came unglued in our second test! The rest of our barn had showed up after my first test, and it turns out that he is obsessively in love with my friend's red mare! (What is with his red mare fetish???) He was dancing around and hollering to her when I left the trailers, but I got him focused back on me in the warm up ring. When we got back to the show ring he was much more tense and not wanting to trot forward, preferring to do is upright tense trot, but I thought we could still make it through the test. Then we had to make the second trot and canter circle at C instead of A, and from that half the arena he could actually see her shiny red butt tied to the trailers! Ho hum... another "disobedient, but tactfully ridden" comment from the judge! We'll just say the trot circle was more like a head-tossing-dance rectangle with some unexpected sideways action, the canter depart was explosive, but then only resulted in a pogo-stick-like gait and I don't believe we got even one stride of a true three beat canter! What can I say, it was the first show of the year! Other first-show-problem, I'm apparently fatter than I was last October! I barely got my coat buttoned at all, and the top button wasn't even close! So I got to look like some sort of 70's Vegas singer!
The other wardrobe malfunction (and probably what I'm laughing at in this adorable photo) was that I forgot to zip my boots up all the way! Duh...
Luckily we were able to have a re-do the very next weekend at the make up show for the show that I missed due to the abscess (which really had been the make up for the one that was rained out!) We did the same two tests, and improved on both. More importantly, I was able to conquer my tendency to sit quiet and make the best of the tense trot problem. It wasn't perfect, but I still pushed him forward and had some great moments. We also came back after his warm up for the second test to have some of the best canter transitions ever! I felt it was a huge personal victory to be having problems and actually figure out a way to work past them and make immediate improvements without a trainer there to coach me through. No photos or video though; I braved this show alone.
I wish I had more time mid-week, but work is crazy right now. We are managing to make the most of our weekends. I am hopeful that we'll finally step out of Intro into Training level dressage tests this summer. His stretchy trot isn't solid yet, but coming along nicely!
We also had our first official jumping lesson at the fancy H/J barn next door. It went surprisingly well considering his jumping work went out the window with the focus on the dressage show (that kept being pushed back) and then the time off.
We are now on a one month countdown to the next Horse Trials! We'll only be doing Elementary, so I'm feeling pretty good. With two goes at the BN Test behind us, I think we're fairly well prepped and can polish that off some in the next few weeks. For the jumping, I really could jump every single fence from a very collected trot and probably will to be sure we set the precedent for what is acceptable! So worst case scenario we're looking at is time faults, but some well instilled training moments. I hope to get out to school cross country again to be sure we can at least feel good about cantering BETWEEN the jumps! But who knows, if I can manage to sort out a better work-life balance, we could be a whole lot farther along after a month.