Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I thought maybe I would write this post in some sort of cool, calm, collected state, but the fact of the matter is WE GOT A 10.



look! a 10! and it's accompanying blue ribbon...
I couldn't believe it, and apparently the Judge couldn't either as she congratulated me on our (one) perfect score after our final salute so I didn't even have to wait to get my test back to start squealing.  I have never, (ever, ever) scored a 10 in my life.  I've had a few golden 9's that I coaxed, pleaded and beat out of other horses, along with some steady 8's, but never (ever, ever) a TEN!  The judge also said it's been about two years since she handed out her last ten, so that comment plus our very fair score on the first ride made me feel even luckier to have earned an ten!!

(It was on our first trot lengthening, by the way, which is videoed from behind so you miss most of the gorgeousness, though the steady rhythm and balance is fairly evident)

And with that out of the way, I can proceed to discuss the rest of the test... (a 10!).

I really can't complain, but if I had to - it's that both P2 and I ran out of steam for the last half of the ride.  We started great, but by the end of the test we were just a bit strung out, unbalanced and stiff.  All in all, still a huge improvement from June's show since we, umm... oh yeah - finished the test this time.

I know I need to be hugely grateful for that (massive) improvement/completion, but it's hard to know that we were giving points away left and right that would have easily been ours if I had been a bit more centered and assertive.  Our slow demise is apparent looking at the test sheet as we go from 7's, 8's (and a TEN!) at the start to a couple 5's, 6's and 7's from the second canter lead through the end of the test.  (wah).  We still ended with a 68.97% which feels like a huge success (that's so close to 70% I can taste it...) and collective marks showed an improvement over our Training 3 ride:
Gaits:  8
Impulsion: 8 (up one from T3!)
Submission: 7 (up another one from T3!)
Rider Position: 7
Use of Aids: 7
Harmony: 7
Those improvements made me really happy.  For sitting around in 85 degree heat (in Seattle 85 constitutes a terrifying heat), and then going back in for a second ride.. I was thrilled that Prairie was even more focused than our first ride.  Also, really nice to feel an improvement for our second test where last time we came unraveled...

Again we struggled with our canter departs and circles, but still no errors.  I was so proud of the mare I ended up spooking her with my enthusiastic pats at the end of the ride.

Here's the video.  You'll see where the wheels come off the wagon (canter tour), but man, we had some pretty good moments! (namely three 8's in a row for our stretchy trot, walk transition and free walk).

All in all I came away from the day feeling like we addressed some of our biggest issues from the June show (although who knows if they will stick for our next outing) and that much more pulled together.

The next little schooling show on the calendar is for August 12th... and I might scrap my Training level tests and go for First 1 & 2.  Not that we can't improve our scores at Training Level, but I think the things that are hard for us don't change much with First Level and those tests are just more fun to school and ride.

Things that are on the list to work on:

Getting off our forehand in the canter
Getting off our forehand in the canter
Getting off our forehand in the canter
Canter departs (still)
Straightness in our Halts (we had haunches to the right every time)
Returning to Working Canter from a lengthened stride
Staying lifted through the shoulder on smaller circles/turns

Proud of herself and ready to head home..
When we got back to the barn, a couple of the grass paddocks that have been "resting" were opened up so I let the mare go roll around and pig out for a few minutes before I had to head home.  I hope she knows she did a good job... and I hope she remembers to do it again!

rockn' her post-braid curls...
(P2 got grass, and I got this...)


  1. Congrats on your 10! So exciting.

  2. Holy crap! That's awesome - congratulations!

  3. Awesome! She set the bar pretty high :) Hope you get lots more 10's in the future!

  4. Yay! Congrats! I don't think judges give out enough 10s. Love watching you and P2 develop as a team! :)

  5. That test really is lovely - well done on your scores, especially that 10!!

    I hope my next test goes as well. :)

  6. Wow. That is awesome. Congratulations!!!

  7. Awesome! 10s are always very cool to get!

  8. The second lengthening looked really nice, too. Great ride and congrats on the 10! I say, frame it. Seriously. :)

  9. W-O-W! Congrads on a fantastic test!

    And I would totally frame that if I were you. With the mat cut to highlight the line with the 10 in it. Just sayin'. :)

  10. Thanks guys! While I know a "10" does not a Dressage star make - It's still really fun to feel like at least we did something, or ONE thing right!

  11. SOOOO beeautiful!!!! You would have to scrape me off the ceiling after a ride like that:) (late) congrats to you and your beautiful mare:)

  12. Oh my goodness, a 10?!?!?! That is so freaking awesome! Congrats. I'm so impressed with the whole ride. You both did so well! Even from behind you can tell that trot lengthening was totally deserving of a ten. :D Way to go!


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