Monday, August 29, 2016

Dressage Woes and Impending Personal Olympics

I have an embarrassing amount of unfinished blog posts sitting in my drafts folder… Sorry folks! But here's attempt #4,042 (or something like that hahaha)

Schooling HT at Jumping Branch in February 
Somedays I have a fruitcake for a horse and other days I have the most rock solid bombproof tank. I regularly take Chimi out on trail rides by himself and we easily encounter 10-60 deer while we're out. Do they bother him? No- not even when I jump because they've surprised me! But the fruitcake side of Chimi...well it tends to show up at shows, and even more specifically in the warm up. Why are our warm ups so terrible you ask? Well it's because the other horses freak him out when they get to close. Chimi will stop and run backwards if a horse approaches from the front and will leap forward if a horse comes up from behind. Normally these horses are being very respectful and not traveling to close so it really is just a Chimi issue not terrible rider problems. Unfortunately this leaves an already alert and tense Chimi very frazzled and even more tight and tense so our dressage ends up being crap. We keep getting nailed about him being short and tight and I just haven't figured the best way to deal with this at a show. 

On a hunter pace this past spring

At home Chimi is pretty darn awesome and my coach regularly comments "now why can't he do that trot in the dressage ring? You would win with that trot!" He can be so lovely and have the most fabulous ground eating trot when I ride out on the trails or in my front field and  even in the ring during our lessons. But as soon as we get to a show all hell breaks lose.

Love the view from the cross country course at FENCE

Our first show of the season was FENCE HT and I thought we were doing fairly ok. I knew we weren't going to get a 20 or anything crazy but I figured a mid to upper 30 would be about where we landed. Instead we ended up with 41.6 and the judge said we weren't forward enough. Ok, I can live with that bc it was very true- Chimi felt like he was trotting through molasses the entire test and I was worried if I pushed him that he might explode. Even with our terrible score we weren't in last place and we finished the weekend with double clear XC and some random time faults in stadium (how the hell did we go to slow in stadium???? Still not sure)

Not sure how it happened but we got 2nd at Windridge which was our first qualifying score

As the season progressed I did get a little better about riding him more forward  in our dressage test but then he started losing his canter leads on the long side before we were suppose to trot. At the most recent event he gave me the most lovely flying change from the left to right lead which resulted in a score of 4 for that movement. I've worked with my coach trying to fix this problem by riding him in a slight shoulder fore down the long side and if I can keep him together it works. But he's so frickin big that sometimes I lose him and he'll swap behind and it turns to crap.

we squeaked by with a 5th place at River Glen which was our last qualifying score! 

And now I've got the biggest event I've ever participated in looming in front of me and I can't help but feel a little underprepared. Chimi and I somehow qualified for the AEC's and in 3 days we will be trotting down centerline at TIEC and competing against other adult amateurs who probably get scores of 20's in their sleep. As much as I would like to come home with a ribbon (ok I'd really like to WIN) I'm ok with whatever place we get as long as we finish on our dressage score. But this is horses and I am just going to ride my best and hopefully it will work out in the end! Just look at the Rio Olympics- top eventers had problems on the course for various reasons and unfortunately had run outs or fell off. So going into my own personal Olympics (who cares if it's just Beginner Novice!) I'm going to do my best and we'll see how the weekend shakes out!!!!

He at least looks cute

Here's to hoping a miracle happens and all my dressage woes disappear and Chimi continues to be beasty awesome on XC and he listens to me in stadium!!!! AEC's we're coming for you!!!

a little luck on our side?