Early Days

Show Recap Part III – Takeaways (& Photos)

This past weekend’s show was a reality check that we are not as far along as I had thought we were. You can practice perfect a hundred times, but you must be able to perform on command the day of the show. That is the challenge – doing it right at the right time.

After some reflecting, I think there were 2 chief factors which caused our dressage performance to be sub-par:
1) Hemie not being ridden the week before the show, due to the minor soundness concern.  
Hemie does better when in regular work, and clearly does not do as well when not.

2) Not immediately addressing his tantrum in the warm-up effectively.
It took far too long for me to get him under control (thanks again, Susan Friend!) and it left both of us rattled and very tense right before the test. 

Clearly I’m going to do everything I can to set us up for success in the future, and that means understanding issues and working to prevent them. Without further ado:

My Main Takeaways from this Show

  • I need my trainer with me at shows.  If she’s not available, I need to approach another trainer about day-of coaching BEFORE mounting. Better safe than sorry. Clearly I do need that support, at least at this stage of our career.
  • I need to have a plan ready for when shit happens with Hemie refusing to go forward. For now that plan is the strategy Susan Friend had me use (over flex, then 10m circle, then expanding forwards).
  • I need long warm ups. At least 45 to 50 minutes before each ride.
  • Soundness concerns notwithstanding, Hemie needs our normal amount of rides, or even some extra rides, the week before a show.

Before Hemie and I even reached the trailer at the end of the show, I already knew that I wanted to come back and do the Meadows derby in April. I *know* we can do better, and I want another chance ASAP.

For now I am abandoning any immediate aspirations for doing a full on horse trials.  I need to be able to compete proficiently at the local shows (for $200 each) before signing up for the bigger shows ($1,000 each). If I’m going to take off work and drop the cash, I want to feel confident about our abilities. And the way to do that is compete in more of these schooling shows.  I’m blessed to have 2 local eventing schooling venues, the Meadows of Moorpark and El Sueno Equestrian Center, as well as a bunch of dressage, ETI, and hunter/jumper shows.

So my immediate short term goal is to do more local shows. As many as I can afford and schedule (with my trainer!). As soon as possible. Here are the contenders:

April 7 – ETI show in Simi Valley (http://www.eti118.org/)  OR Strad Farms Jumper Show
April 21 – ETI show in Thousand Oaks
April 28 – Meadows of Moorpark Derby
May 18 – ETI Dressage ride-a-test in Simi Valley
May 5 – ETI show in Simi Valley
May 19 – Fiesta del Sueno jumping derby at El Sueno OR ETI show in Thousand Oaks
June 7 –  ETI show in Simi Valley
June 15-16 – Dressage at El Sueno
June 23 – Hunter/jumper at El Sueno
July 17 – Jumping derby at El Sueno

On to another topic: mine and Hemie’s fashion at the show. Opinions welcome!!

A) Black fly bonnet with silver trim. Thoughts? In my opinion he looked dashing! And he seemed to like its bug prevention.

B) My green show shirt. Is this even appropriate for dressage? Or is this hunter attire? Or neither? Fashion has been my major issue coming to this sport as an adult. I know nothing! My plan for the show was inspired by Karen of Bakersfield Dressage: a white “ventilator” shirt with a (pre-tied) stock tie and pin. I ordered the Ronfh Coolmax pre-tied stock tie, and it arrived just in time a few days before the show. But wouldn’t you know it, the stupid button clasp broke the first time I tried it on (tags still on!) so I returned it and wore the green shirt instead. I’m thinking of ordering a regular stock tie, since I bought the stock pin. Thoughts?
C) My helmet cover, black with hot pink polka dots. Too juvenile? Too feminine since I’m riding a gelding? I got this cover when I was riding Spirit and our colors were pink, pink, and more pink. But I never got a chance to wear it due to our issues (and not showing). So I decided to open the package and add some color for this show. Thoughts welcome.

And for those interested in the Point Two air vest, here’s a good shot of it. You can see the copper-colored CO2 canister on the right front.

7 comments on “Show Recap Part III – Takeaways (& Photos)

  1. I have a pre-tied stock tie and still use a stock pin with it. Personally, I like the pink helmet cover. But I love pink in general, so take it with a grain of salt lol.


  2. I liked all your show recap :) Mainly because it was very similar to my competition experience :D It's amazing how differently things turn out at a show versus at home.
    The green shirt isn't really dressage-y in my experience unless you are the lower, non-official levels in which case uniform is a bit less important. But why not start a trend?
    The ear bonnet looks great.
    As for the helmet cover, I say go for it!


  3. Yknow, you say exactly what I would say about me and Apollo re: derbies. :) Goodonya — this is wisdom!

    And there is NO such thing as too colorful when it comes to XC. Totally wear it.


  4. Pretty sure green is not a typical dressage color but I am also new to that world. I ordered the fits shirt and stock tie- it is a short sleeve technical type shirt with an odd patterned material but I like it. You guys looked stylish :)


  5. I also say this all the time, “You can practice perfect a hundred times, but you must be able to perform on command the day of the show.” Schooling at home is not even close to riding at a show. Showing, no matter how relaxed you are (or aren't!), is not just about getting a correct lead, having good geometry, or getting a nice bend. It's doing all of that under a huge microscope on a a very large flight animal that is acutely aware of his surroundings. I “try” not to be disappointed in low scores because I recognize how difficult it is to perform WELL at a show. The good news is that each time Hemie does it, he will get braver and be more relaxed (as will you!). Speedy is mostly there, but now I am starting down that road with Sydney. Remind me of all of this in a few weeks, okay?!

    The rules for dress in dressage are pretty basic: DR120 Dress.
    1. The dress code for Training through Fourth Levels is a short riding coat of conservative color, with tie, choker or stock tie, white or light-colored breeches or jodhpurs, boots or jodhpur boots, and protective headgear as defined in DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801.

    3. At all test levels, riders may wear jackets in other colors within the international HSV color scale, as described in FEI Dressage Regulations, Art. 427.1. Contrast coloring and piping is allowed. Hats, stocks, ties, gloves and riding boots may be the same color as the coat.

    7. In extreme heat and/or humidity in all classes including FEI classes at National Competitions, management can allow competitors to show without jackets. However, competitors must wear a regulation hat and solid or nearly solid colored long or short sleeved shirt with collar, without neckwear, and without decoration except as
    described under .14 below. T-shirts are not permitted.

    Basically – helmet, dark jacket, white or light colored breeches, tie, solid shirt (white is simply traditional, but no one can see it unless coats are waived), and boots (half chaps are okay through 1st Level). I thought your turn out looked appropriate for your show. :0)

    I have the USEF 2013 Rulebook for Dressage on my website (which includes the rules regarding dress): http://www.bakersfielddressage.com/other-forms–documents.html

    I can't comment about the XC colors, but coming from the endurance world where we rode in VERY colorful gear, I say, do what you want! :0)


  6. I am no help with the 3day/eventing fashion as I ride Hunters :)

    I love hearing all the Simi Valley shows… my grandparents own a house in Simi and I grew up spending a lot of time there :)


  7. Good plan with showing local, y'all will get better and better! I am a hunter gal, but soul switch to a white shirt. Looooooove the fly bonnet!


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