Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Show Season Update: Beaujolais Dressage Show

Wow, I am almost through the 2010 show season and I have yet to post an update. For that I apologize. Please keep on checking back as I will try to post more ofn.

Beaujolais Dressage Show (June 18-20)
Weather was a big factor for this show as we had heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday. Friday was sunny and really nice. Then the rain came. The rain was moderate on Saturday, but was a steady downpour on Sunday. I was concerned about the footing holding up and the Donida grounds crew did a superb job. Not once did I feel that my horses would be slipping on the wet sand.

At this show, Falcon "broke out" and started to really show off. About a week or so before the show, I found a new gear for Falcon and got him to start moving forward in a freer fashion. We won two classes, placed 2nd in two others and then two 4th places. Plus, we got 1 qualifying score for Championships at Training Level. The frustrating part of the show for Falcon was on Friday and Saturday, we were always 1 or 2 points away from the qualifying. Our scores at Training Level were always a high 67% (69.6% on Sunday) and at First Level we received high 65%. Even though we didn't get all of our qualifying scores, overall our scores were 4-8% higher than last season and the first show of this season. With these results I had good feelings about what Falcon could do this season.

For Neo, our goal was just to get qualifying scores at Intermediate I. Two weeks prior, I had taken Neo to a clinic taught be Canadian Olympic rider Leslie Reid. Coming out of the clinic I was getting better flexion, suppleness and collection from Neo. Going into the show, I was still unsure how exactly we would do.

On Friday's ride, I started to put in some better pirouettes in the warm up. With the
solid pirouettes in warm up I knew we could put in a solid ride. In training if Neo is pirouetting well that means he is through and will be good in anything else.

Overall, the Friday ride went well. Ironically, I blew the pirouettes but had everything else fairly good. I left the ring knowing we did well but could also do a whole lot better. We won with a 63.8%.

Saturday's ride was really good. We warmed up indoors because of the rain. As the warm up progressed we started to get connections/balance that we hadn't before. When we went outside to finish the last few minutes of warm up, Neo refused to trot because the mud was splashing up on his belly and he didn't like that. After getting him to canter we went back down to trot. From there I had the horse I wanted. Going around the ring, waiting for the judge to ring us in, I gave my hands forward ever so slightly and Neo just lifted up and went soft. At that moment all I needed to do was ride relaxed and we would have a good ride.

The trot work went well where we scored 8's the extended trots and medium trot. The canter work went well, where we showed our best pirouettes in the show ring. The only big mishap was we messed up both lines of tempi's where we tripped up over X in both the 3's and 2's.

We won again, this time with a 65.5% from Carol Hoffman who is a tough judge.

Again, and this is what is exciting, is we can still do so much better. If I get the half passes in both the trot and canter better, and get the 3's and 2's a 69+% is well within reason.

Overall Claudius had a good show. Coming into the show Claudius had been dealing with a slightly sore back and that little bit of soreness prevented us from going as well as we could. For the first time I always had the horse straight, and riding in front of my leg. In the PSG on Friday and Sunday we scored a 59.6% (1pt from qualifying) and if Claudius was feeling his best there no doubt a score in the mid 60's would be possible.

We also debuted Claudius' 4th level freestyle at the show. To be quite honest, it was a little sloppy where I messed up on the choreography and Claudius broke into canter in one of the trot half passes.

I knew leaving this show that we could have a fantastic freestyle when we showed at Devonwood in July.

Start to finish this was my strongest show with all of the horses. This included four 1st places and two 2nd places. The highlight of the show was prior to entering the ring for my first test of the day on Sunday having the judge say to me, "You sure are having a good show!"