I took Stryder to a CT at Beginner Novice and it was pretty good! We struggled a bit in the dressage warm up. He started great and then after our canter warm up, his trot felt less like riding a horse and more like sitting on top of a freight train. But we got it figured out and headed in.
Our test felt rideable, if not brilliant. I was most nervous about the walk portion. Stryder likes to jig. Our trot-walk transition was spot on (“obedient” according to the judge), but right as we made the turn to free walk H-X-F, all the show nerves hit me. I’d been cool as a cucumber all day and the adrenaline and butterflies finally decided to show up full force at possibly the worst time. So I’m sure Stryder felt that anxious energy all of a sudden. The free walk was still just fine until the last few steps when he broke to trot. He pretty much jigged through the whole medium walk, too. We got a 4.5 and a 4 on our free walk and medium walk. Not unexpected, still a bummer. Certainly something to work on, and a pretty easy way to bring our scores up in the future.
We got lots of comments about tension in Stryder’s back. I honestly think a lot of issues (and there are many, but there are minor) stem from the fact that I’m not that comfortable in a dressage saddle. I think my stirrups are too long, at least for now. I feel very unsteady and like my lower legs are just swimming around down there. I will be putting myself in dressage boot camp for awhile to get used to the saddle and figure out our problems.
It wasn’t long before we had our stadium round. The warm up felt fabulous (in Trainer B’s words: “where was that trot during dressage?”). We headed right in and, guys – it was probably one of my best rounds ever. It was steady, flowing, forward but relaxed. We had one odd distance to the two-stride and jammed a third stride in, causing a cross canter and slightly unbalanced turn to 6, but no sticks came down. We went double clear! Trainer B likes to have us sing/chant the words to “Uptown Funk” to get the canter right rhythm, and the whole way through we were right on the beat. Yay, it was good enough for second place!
Here’s the video of stadium fences 4-9. (Thanks to my parents for photos and videos this weekend!)