Monday, October 29, 2012

The Show Goes On

Dressage has a reputation as a "wussy" sport.  If people only knew....

Dressage shows are rarely cancelled, due to sanctioning rules and year end points the shows go on regardless of weather conditions.  My show this Sunday was no exception.  Since the hurricane wasn't due to hit until Monday night and the State of Emergency wasn't in effect yet, Spider and I loaded up and headed to the show.  And then we treated the judge to a preview of the hurricane.....

To say the test was a complete disaster wouldn't be completely accurate.  We started out really well, all 6s and 7s (7s for shoulder in and half pass!).  Then we came to the half turns on the haunches and Spider started to jig.  He jigged all the way through the two turns on the haunches (We got 4s for the turns, and a 5 for the medium walk there).  Then he jigged into the canter transition and everything went downhill from there.  The phrase "out of control" was used in the judge's comments.  More than once.

We did all the movements, except for the last flying change.  By that time he was just too out of control and unbalanced to do the change.  The scores for the second half of the test were all 4s and 5s and there was just no coming back from that.  We ended up with a 54%.  Not great, but we still got a blue ribbon!

We were the only pair competing at Third Level that day.

I'm still proud of him.  He did a good job in spite of the impending storm and it being his first time out all year.  We got into the ring, we performed the test and now I know where I stand for next year.

We can do all the movements at home, Spider just needs more experience doing them in the show ring. And I need to react better when he gets tense. It was the tension and jigging in the last bit of walk that ruined us.  He went from a tense walk to a tense canter (that was really a straight-up gallop) and I didn't fix it.  Oh well, there's always next time.

For now, we're waiting on Sandy.  Stay safe everyone!


  1. You know, a 54%, considering what happened, is none to shabby.

    I think it's a TB trait to just keep on escalating once "nerves" start to kick in. The hardest thing is to catch it before it gets to that point. And the double trouble is that it's not always easy to practice strategies to deal with nerves at home.

    If there's any way you can take Spider to different places to ride, you might be able to better find ways to cope with his tension.

    I am worrying about us all as Sandy approaches. I know you are a lot closer to landfall than I am. I will be thinking of you as the day goes on. Stay safe. This storm is not to be trifled with.

  2. While I'm not proud of the overall score, I'm very proud and happy of all the 6s and 7s we got on our trot and walk work up to the turn on the haunches. And I'm pleased with the fact that I got him through the canter work, even though it was bad, without melting down completely.

    Spider does the classic TB escalation once he starts to get nervous. At home I do a few quick transitions and changes of direction to get his focus back, but we can't do that in the show ring. Next year I plan on showing quite a bit so that we can develop a better strategy for dealing with show ring tension.

    We've made all the preparations we can. I wrote my phone number on the horses in waterproof livestock paint in case they get loose. We don't flood, but we do have a few trees that I worry about coming down onto the fence or barn. At this point, whatever will be will be. Good luck and stay safe!

  3. Nothing like a TB. Sounds like you handled it as well as could be. Stay dry!

  4. Good Luck with Sandy, wish I could help!!!!!

    1. Thanks! We weathered the storm quite well. No damage and no flooding. Seems like New York City and the Jersey Shore were the hardest hit.

  5. Hey, that sounds pretty similar to the test we rode in a downpour this summer. I thought the judge's remarks about my horse were oddly detached from the obvious chaos due to the rain and thunder (!). Maybe that judge wasn't from planet Earth. I hope your judge was more connected to the ground. A blue ribbon is always nice to add to one's collection.

    Congratulations on getting out there and riding a Third Level test. My hat is off to you!

    1. Thanks! The weather actually wasn't that bad, a little windy, but no rain. My judge (Susan Jones-Sinelik, r) was actually quite fair in her scores and comments. I deserved the "out of control" comment, we were out of control! We need more practice in the ring.

      Hope you're doing ok after this storm, your area took a beating!

  6. Hats off to you. Not everyone would have the intestinal fortitude to load up her horse and head to a competition with a hurricane in the offing. You should be proud of yourself and your horse.

    1. Thank you! I'm not sure if it is intestinal fortitude or mental deficiency, but I have never been one to back down from a challenge!


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