Early Days

Getting Ready

T-minus 17 days until the horse show. I’m feeling happy and excited. The obsessive part of me is really honing in. I’m already sorting my clothes and saddle pads and show gear that I keep in the garage (there’s only so much space at the barn). I’m making lists about cleaning tack and clipping and packing, and even brainstorming paleo-esque show food.

As to riding and training, we’re sticking with our 2 lessons a week but I may add an extra one if scheduling works out conveniently. We’re doing a cross country schooling at The Meadows of Moorpark this Saturday as one more outing opportunity.

For practice rides my plan is to make every ride count. Hacking around is great, but there’s no reason I can’t throw in a solid work session too. Even when going bareback or on trail rides – leg yielding, square halting, and spending time on the bit are ways to make sure I’m putting every ride to use. And note to self: I need to stop using my voice during dressage practice rides! Those -2s are too pricey.

Something that Laurie said last week has really stuck with me. As I was running through our dressage test Laurie said “Come on and ride him – don’t be shy!”

I realized that I’ve been treating dressage tests too much like a saddle seat pleasure class* rather than the riding exam it really is.  I need to be just as active, demanding a rider in the test as I am when in a lesson. I’ve been acting more like a passenger, trying to make our test smooth and incident-free. But the idea is to get the job done. Each test movement is a new opportunity, so instead of cruising through and focusing on geometry and my posture, I need to really focus on getting Hemie’s hind end engaged and connecting through the bridle. I need to really ride the whole test. Every step.

been playing with picmonkey.com

*For my non-saddle seat-informed riders, just like in other disciplines a saddleseat pleasure class judges the horse’s performance (rather than rider, which would be equitation). However, the rider is expected to make it look like the horse is truly a pleasure to ride, typically achieved with a nice smile, calm and confident poise, and minimal use of whip or kicking.

4 comments on “Getting Ready

  1. Good plan! I like the pic monkey quote! Good idea for being creative and getting your quotes to pop!

    Love the planner in you! I do that too!

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  2. Love that quote! It's totally true, you have to look at the test as a series of movements not too much of a whole, so that if one movement isn't great you have more chances :-)

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  3. English pleasure is the same, if you smile and look like its easy peasy lemon squeeze instead of deathgripping and grimacing all over the place, you will probably win. Half the time I threw the reins at Carlos and pretended he wasn't running away and it seemed to work.

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  4. I don't remember how long ago it was, but I had that exact same revelation about RIDING during a test. When I first started out, I was too afraid to make a correction for fear that it would lower my score. I have since learned that Speedy can't do the test alone. Chemaine has a good expression for this idea. She calls it “coaching your horse through the test.” Good luck as you continue schooling and prepping. :0)

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