Sundance HT: Dressage & Show Jumping

Omg this week has both flown by (how is it already Thursday?!) and dragged (how is it only Thursday?!). Regardless, I’m a bit late on getting the show recap up. Hey, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with things like finding dishes and silverware and clothes among all the boxes in our new house, plus the shower head came clean off the wall as I was mid-conditioning my hair. So that was fun.

These things both happened on Friday last week: New house + going to a horse show. Again, I can’t thank my husband for managing the move-in while I went off to show.<3

ANYWAY. Sundance is such a wonderful show. The weather was great, the facilities are awesome and there are like 1,000,000 amazing volunteers. I was so so so happy to get to compete there this year – even if it was with only four days’ notice. (Literally. I sent my entry on the morning of Monday the 17th, had my ride times within a few hours, and we left on Friday afternoon.)

Dressage

We had a tough dressage school on Friday evening. The last few shows, Duke has gotten right to it, been wonderful and we’ve called it quits after like 20 minutes. This time, I had to ride, and ride quite hard/actively for over an hour. I don’t mean I ran him into the ground – I felt like I was working harder than him at times, what with engaging my abs, keeping my back strong and keeping tension in my biceps whileย trying to be soft with my hands. I was very sweaty by the end. He wasn’t, really. He was just very stiff and tight in his back and not wanting to give any left bend. We finally reached a good place and called it a night.

Saturday morning, Duke was much better, though still tighter in his back and left bend than I’d have liked. But I was able to activate his inside hind and get some really lovely work, and it was a lot easier than the night before.

Our test was pretty good. Watching the video actually looks a bit better than it felt. I was happy with my ability to push forward, and try to encourage him to push from behind. We got a lot of “needs more bend” comments, particularly tracking left. Despite that, I felt it was one of our best tests in competition. The judge didn’t love it – we ended up on 36.9 and that put us in 13th out of 14. Yikes. But the scores were pretty close (at the end of the weekend, the girl in 11th after dressage ended up placing 3rd!)

Show Jumping

As Sundance is a two-day show, we had show jumping next. The show jumping is on grass with natural terrain, which makes it fun and adds an extra challenge. Duke was a little wily and squirrelly! I don’t know if it was because the show jumping was set out on a portion of the cross country course and he was just SO EXCITED, or what.

He jumped really well overall, I just didn’t feel I had as much steering and nuance as I’d like. It was better than the last one, that’s for sure! Har, har.

I do keep smacking myself upside the head for letting him cross-canter around a corner to jump 3; it came down and I just know that if I’d taken a moment to get him on a proper lead, he’d have been much more balanced and I’m pretty sure it would’ve stayed up. We also had fence five down, which is a bummer. So we added 8 to our score but still moved up into equal 12th place.

This show is more local than most of the others I did this year, so it was fun to have my husband, parents, sister and brother-in-law, and nephew and niece all come out on Saturday. What a cheering section!

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