July 17, 2016

A new first!

After two months solid of rather intense dressage training, I felt we both needed a break from the routine. Today I dusted off my jump tack and set up some jumps.

Gentry has some limited jumping experience from his 30 day start three years ago, but I haven't jumped him over anything but the occasional log while in my dressage saddle.

So I set up an exe and an 18" vertical. We started with that and went over a few times in each direction. He didn't even put out effort to jump the exe; just trotted over it. We moved on to the little vertical. He nicely trotted in, jumped and cantered out on the correct lead!

I was so pleased with him that we ended on that good note. I think I will try and have a jump day once a week to mix it up. It was a nice break for both of us. And hey; I had fun jumping my pony!

July 15, 2016

The Results

It has taken me all week to catch up on sleep, work, and life. Actually, I still have some catch-up to do on the life end, but I'm getting there. The important stuff is all sorted out at least.

The dressage show this weekend was a big success. Not only was I competing both days, but I am one of the organizers of the show, so I've been extreamly busy with all things show related for the last month. It went well though, and we are planning to hold the show again next year.

While I didn't feel that we were fully prepared for the show, I couldn't have been happier with how Gentry performed. We could have used another month in training prior to the show, but those were the cards that were dealt us. Thank goodness we busted our bums the past two months getting regular lessons though. We had a respectable performance and it was a great learning experience for us both. 

TLDR: At training level we brought home two seconds and one fourth, with decent scores. 

This was Gentry's first recognized dressage show, and my first one since 2011. Even at that I've never shown training level at a recognized show, just the material classes. A material class is basically a group rail class in dressage tack, not so different from ye old hunter flat classes. 

The whole new and different thing was no big deal to me getting ready for the show, because I'm good at talking the talk to myself. Plus I've ridden training level in schooling shows, just not on Gentry. So I was cool as a cucumber going leading up to the show. However, on the morning of the show I woke up (not that I actually slept a wink) with a pit in my stomach and proceeded to act like a brainless idiot during our first test which was at 9:21am. 

Shockingly we got away with a 58% on Training 1. Honestly, it could have been worse, and thank goodness it wasn't. While there was room for improvement across the board, the big mistake I made was that I rode a long diagonal instead of the short. I even had a reader. Who was my trainer. Boy was she annoyed with me. The problem is that I have been practicing the darn test with a long diagonal, so I did what I had practiced, not what was read. I seriously had no clue that it was supposed to be the short diagonal. Like I said, brainless idiot. Gentry was a little lookey and tense in the indoor, but he was a good boy. I think he was probably only tense because I was. I schooled him in there the night before and he was perfect. Our sucky score was all 100% on me. Not so shockingly at 58% and 9 riders, no ribbon.  

Because I am a competitive person and I hate when I mess something up, and hell I am good at showing and I don't have stage fright (WTF?), I proceeded to spend the next four hours until my next test neurotically practicing the test in the showbarn isle dirt. Practicing with my reader, practicing it alone, and practicing it some more. You get the idea. Let me tell you, I rode the heck out of that test and listened to my reader. It was the Training Level Rider test and we got a 68%, and a second place. Much better!

Day two was much improved. After our second test the first day I felt like I got my show groove back. The nerves were gone. We rode Training 1 much better. Unfortunately Gentry picked up the wrong lead in our first canter circle, but otherwise I couldn't have been happier with how he went. We ended up with a 61% and fourth place. After the first day's performance, I was very happy with that. Later that afternoon we rode our Training Level Rider test again and spanked it with a 71%, and again second place. 

So, all in all it was a successful venture and I am very proud of Gentry. I wish that we could do more recognized shows this summer, but it just isn't in the cards for me in terms of free time or cash flow. Our club is putting on another schooling show in October, so I think I will take Gentry to that before we turn into marshmallows again for the winter. Next year though, we are going to rock Training Level..maybe even try to qualify for Regionals, and start schooling first level. I can't wait!

July 8, 2016

All tucked in

We are officially ready for our first recognized show. Gentry is tucked and ready for bed; now I just need to manage to sleep!


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