Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Level Test 1 - 55%

eeeeeeekkkkkk.  55%

Time for the Nitty Gritty:

If you recall, after out July Dressage Outing our goals were as follows:

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

When we weren't spooking or bolting (lol), we did better on all of these things!  Halts we're much straighter.  Canter departs were much better, we had moments of lightness in our canter and despite the mare being "against my hand" I actually felt some adjustment with my half halts and she noticeably came back to me from our lengthenings (true in both tests).  So I have to give the mare credit for that shred of progress.

As we discussed, aside from a decent opening halt, we started off with a bang... and a spook... and uncalled for circle at C.  The problem there is that the entire turn at C, longside and then half-circle-serpentine from E-X-B is all scored as one movement.  I thought I salvaged my trot (decently) and showed suppleness in the turns.  Admittedly a bit on the forehand, but still we managed only a 4 for the whole thing.  I think if it was marked as a separate movement we would have gotten a few more points.

Our opening trot lengthen was mediocre.  I though we got good push and had good balance, but we only got a 7.  If I keep Prairie "up" we seem to do better, but I've been admonished for not "lenthening the frame" at First Level so I was going for a bit a stretch, but what I got was a lot of forehand.  I think I'll go back to thinking "up, up, up."  We go down easily enough...

Our stretchy trot only got a 5.5 which is too bad, because P2 has a bad ass stretchy trot.  we got "tentative" because it took me a few strides to get her down, and then shew was just a little too tense to stay down.. not our best work.

Medium walk was a 6 (scary corner) but we bounced back (a little) with a 7.5 (our highest score :( ) for the free walk.

Trot and canter transitions worked out to a 6.5 which is better than the 6 we got in July.  I do actually think that our canter departs managed to be better this time.  Our circle was a 6 (same as July).

The big ouch came from our canter lengthening (Prairie performed a leg yield here) which got a 3.  the comment was "not completely controlled"  (yes) "crooked"  (yes, yes).  I'm not horrifically worried.  Opening up Prairie's stride is.... easy.  but when she's acting a loon, I think the correct choice was to not push for much.

we got a 6.5 for the canter diagonal/trot transition.  Presumable because she was on her forehand.

Another 3 bit us for the "canter transition."  I won't argue that the transition was pretty (in the video you can see Prairie check out a few strides before I ask for the left lead..) but a 3 is SAD.  especially since I did manage to display a transition and continued on my way.  inverted? yes.  out of control? perhaps :) but look! I got her back!!

or I didn't... since the circle also only got a 4.  WAH.  It felt a bit more contained I guess.

Then (somewhat entertaining) we only got a 5 for our lengthening, since I opted to not really ask.  Something about the whole "bolt" thing made me think "hmmm self - let's skip the lengthening rather than risk sending the mare into orbit".  I had to giggle when the comment next to my crappy 5 was "conservative."  No shit! did you see the mare?!

a 5 for the trot transition where we broke early (this seemed worse than my "3" canter transition but whatever) a 7 for the final lengthening and a 6 to end the halt.

The collective marks are sad, sad sad.  Let's do a side by side from July FL1, shall we?

Collective Marks                                                  July                      August
Gaits                                                                       8                             7.5
Impulsion                                                                8                              7
Sumbission                                                                                          4
Rider's Position & Seat                                           7                               6
Rider's Use of Aids                                                  7                              5.5
Harmony                                                                  7                               5

EEEEEEEEEEEEESH.  Not ideal.  Though, in July FL1 was our second (and better) ride of the day, whereas in August it was our first (and worse) ride of the day...

Without further ado, here's the video.  She does look heavy, but there are moments of lightness. In her quieter moments there is a distinct lack of impulsion, but I was so happy to have her off my hand and contained that I was apprehensive about pressing the gas pedal..


  1. Well, some tests go according to plan... and then there are those other ones... ;)

    There are definitely some lovely moments in there, and the not-so-lovely moments you rode really well! Even with her two scoots, you had it fixed in a matter of strides. You are getting more assertive in your riding and it really shows.

    You two make a lovely pair, and with a few more outings and a little more to build a better working relationship, y'all are going to be tough to beat!

  2. I'm having the same issue as you as to being 'up'. We've always practiced in a deep frame, to really work over her back, but in the show ring it just seems to put her on the forehand. I suppose it's picking the lesser of two evils as it were.

    Props to getting her deep into her corner after the spook by the pylon. I too thought your 10m half circles at X were nice and seemed to help set her back. Better than a 4, IMO.

  3. Gah. We all have our bad days. My last outing earned me a 50% and a 55.4% so I know how you feel!

  4. I saw the nice moments and strides that you were talking about. This test just wasn't meant to be and it looked like most of that was circumstantial and not something you could have prevented.

    It is a little bit of a bummer that the "use of aids" score is so low. I guess the judge does not want to give a good score if the horse is not going well, but you got her back every time and quickly and kept the test going. That is not easy and, in my opinion, does demonstrate effectiveness, even if your horse was not interested in "dressage-ing" at the moment.

  5. Wow she was fussy! Was it just from waiting around or do you think she was in heat? I don't think I've seen her act like that in any of your other videos. I guess she just wasn't feeling it that day.

    I think you did a brilliant job with her scoots!! I'm impressed. You've definitely come a long way from when you first started dealing with them.

    Are you taking lessons still? Maybe you could show the video to your trainer and ask for pointers. I'm trying to remember what my trainer had me do with a mare that I took lessons on when she was so fussy, but it's been so long I don't remember. The only things I remember was her repeating over and over "inside leg to outside hand" and half halt. She also had me pet her with my inside hand (I'm bad about trying to pull them around with my inside hand sometimes which just causes the shoulder to fall in, hence the inside leg to outside hand and half halt advice lol).

    Anyway I would just chalk it up to Prairie was having a bad day and you both did a great job because you stayed in the ring and finished the ride. And when she did quiet down and listen you both looked fantastic!! :D


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