Monday, October 5, 2009

Let the countdown begin

So I competed in my first dressage show yesterday! The Elon Dressage Team traveled up to Virginia Intermont to compete in the first IDA show. I was nervous since I have never ridden a dressage test before, and the horse I drew was a lot older, swaybacked fellow that was a bit lame. Needless to say, Duke and I got along well - I was able to keep him down on the bit, bent and traveling forward with impulsion. I scored a 65.6%!! It earned me third place out of twelve riders and helped put our team up to fifth place out of twelve teams! I also got the highest score of anyone who rode my horse, the other two riders earned a 57% and 59%! Talk about a positive first dressage experience!

In other news the pony is doing really well. After Friday's two brilliant rides, I had a quiet jumping ride over small fences on Saturday, gave her the day off Sunday and rode her again today.

Today begins the preparation for Sunday's show, although we are now in a dilemma about how we are going to get to the show. Sarah was originally going to trailer us, but now may not be able to, and Julie, one of the girls who boards her horses at Grayson's may only go to the show on Saturday. I can't go Saturday because I have to participate in the Walk for Autism with my sorority to support our national philanthropy Autism Speaks. Tomorrow I'm going to talk to Grayson and hopefully to Anne about other possibilities.

Today to begin preparation I lightly flatted the pony in and out of the ring. We warmed up at the walk and trot around the property in order to keep her fresh. Because it was lightly raining, I then went into the ring to canter. I rode her in the chambon which is a piece of equipment that keeps her from lifting her head high and hollowing her back, but does not force any kind of headset. It is a free moving rope that attaches through a piece that looks like martingale strap by the girth, has an attachment over the poll, and attaches to the bit. It essentially puts an uncomfortable amount of pressure on her if she throws her head up, but there is no limit for how far she can stretch downward. I also set it loosely enough that she could still keep her head up a little bit. It just kept her from hollowing her back and quickly sucking back when she thought about spooking.

She responded really well to it and continued to work down on the bit with a clean consistent bend. We continued working on the shoulder in at the walk and leg yields at the trot. At the canter I worked to maintain a smooth consistent pace where she didn't rush or drop her shoulder, or get heavy on the forehand.

Tentative schedule:

Monday - light flat

Tuesday - conditioning ride
Wednesday - school 3'
Thursday - light flat
Friday - school 2'6
Saturday - normal flat
Sunday - The big day! Low Schooling Jumpers at Sedgefield
Monday - OFF

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