Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MDHT at Loch Moy

We had a dissapointing weekend. The new rings and courses looked great, the facility was defenitely improved from last fall. I took Octavian out to school on the flat Saturday evening. He was distracted, and found the sprinklers in the stadium far more interesting then his leg-yields and bending work. I can't say I blamed him, there was a lot to look at.

I walked my cross country course with Molly Saturday afternoon. I was really excited about riding in the next day, I had some concerns about 4ab, a combination involving a skinny toothbrush type jump at 'b', and had to pay special attention to the corner at 15. We walked the intermediate corner to make my preliminary corner look easy, that was a good strategy because I felt a lot less worried afterwards! Sunday morning my fears about the toothbrush skinny at 4b were lessened, we had a skinny on the stadium course, which I was hoping would be a nice warm up for the first skinny (4b) on cross country.

Octavian felt wonderful warming up for dressage, much better than he ever had. I felt that our hard work over the past months had really left us in a good place heading into the dressage arena. As soon as we started trotting on the outside of the arena, we both became tense and couldn't get it together again. I thought our test needed a lot of improvement, I was riding badly and he wasn't moving off of my leg, and we had a lot of nasty moments. I was rather dissapointed coming out of the ring because I knew that we were both capable of better.

I was really happy with him after warming up for stadium, we were communicating well and I felt like we were going to have a good round. He was soft, yet forward and responsive. The stadium rings at Loch Moy are near the dressage arenas and warm up areas. I entered the ring, heard the whistle, cantered my circle, and headed over the first fence only to hear more whistles. I was disoriented and couldn't figure out where the whistles were coming from, but heard "stop", so I did. The judge came over and informed me that I jumped the first fence before her whistle and was therefore eleminated. I was immediately confused because I had her a whistle. We talked to the TD, who said that she could see where the confusion had occured, and that it was unfortunate, but I was still going to have to be eleminated, especially because the jump crew was still in the ring (I didn't see the jump crew, they were to the right when I was headed torward the left, but lesson learned). Everyone around the ring heard the whistle that must have come from the dressage ring below stadium. I wish I had poorer hearing. Since I had not completed stadium, I was not allowed to go cross country either. It was the end of the day for us. Our dressage score was a 41, and looking on the bright side, two months ago a 41 would have been a good test for us, where now I considered it bad, so there has to be some improvement.

I'm still very dissapointed, but should get over within the week. The most important thing is to move forward.

This week I will be picking up and giving Octavian his second vaccination needed for Morven CCI* in the fall, and I just sent in the FEI and USEF life recording registrations. We are well on our way to getting an FEI passport.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Off to Loch Moy

I've been really enjoying my working student position, and dressage has no longer become a "chore", fortunately, because I learn more and more about it everyday! Riding one of the more experienced horses has been very benefecial to me, although I don't always realize it until I go to give an aid or ask for something and I know how it's supposed to feel. Infact, I taught an OTTB I work with weekly her first step of leg-yielding this week. I was very excited!

Yesterday we worked on riding through my test. I don't want to jinx myself for this weekend, but Octavian and I have both improved. To my shock, after going doing our shoulder-ins, Gabriele said they were "very nice"! Counter-canter was "Good, he's got the tuff stuff down" (Good boy, Octavian!). Our major hiccup in the test always comes after the trot transition at M after the free walk. Octavian really dislikes getting back on the bit so quickly, so that is something we will just have to continue working on, but I may get a 4 on that transition this weekend but we will try our best. My main goal in the dressage ring is to remember not to panic. As Gabriele puts it, he is really listening to my half halts now, but despite that, I have a habit of being "grrr" and riding with too much hand because I sometimes expect him not to listen to my half-halts (more old habits!). So, I am going to try really hard to not panic and communicate with Octavian well...the correct way. As for jumping, it's been coming along pretty well, no complaints. We school lots of corners in the stadium ring.

Looks as if we may finally be ready to hit the road, we're off to The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy. I'm extremely excited, it's been too long since Rubicon! Hopefully we have a good weekend, and I hope that when I arrive at the barn this morning, my horse doesn't look like a paint but rather the nice WHITE fleabitten gray I left yesterday!