Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mi Does Dressage!

Very happy to report that Mi does dressage!  After his last less than stellar appearance in the rectangular sandbox, Mi earned himself a re-match... a chance to get his S*#@ sorted out.  And that he did!

Mi and I headed up to Loch Moy today for the final PVDA dressage show of the year.  He's really been coming together at home, but as soon as he sees that judge's box, little white fence, and evil letter boxes... well, the training has pretty much gone out the window!  But not today... he really held it together, and I was so very happy to have a relaxed and happy pony in that evil sandbox!

Mi's first test was so relaxed, he was almost too quiet!  I should have pushed for more, but I've never been able to do that!  So I was pretty darn thrilled with his 69.054 score and second place ribbon!! There's more in there, but now we're talking!

Mi and I had a relaxing break before we were up in the evil sandbox again... this time, apparently, in a bit more danger.  When Mi gets tired, he gets nervous.  Funny, because I think we, as riders, always think a second test should be a bit better with the horse a bit more settled - I'm starting to think Mi is a one-shot a day kinda guy.  After a quick watch of the video (THANK YOU KERRY!) of our first ride, I went into the ring determined to push for more in the second test.  But Mi was tired, hot, a little spooky, and a little rude -- so, he's a funny one.  But he pulled of a good test, for a solid 3rd place out of 10 horses, so really, we had a pretty awesome day!

We shall see what the future holds, but I really think today was a huge step forward in our partnership.  Exciting!
Did you see me do that dressage stuff ??? I was brilliant!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

And even more Dressage!

Dressage, dressage, dressage.
Katchi says - why we still doin' dressage?
And Mi says - dressage-schmodge. Jump!

But, it's dressage, dressage, dressage!

And it ain't even half bad!

Last week, I found out that in Mi's very first recognized dressage test (and our first competitive foray together), Mi earned the Thoroughbred High Score (Open Division) at Ride for Life... which came with prize money! WOW!  I think he was just straight up showing off to win that his first time out.  I bet he said to Katchi, "I'll show you who's getting all the treats today!"

After Ride for Life, I made a last minute decision to enter Mi in PVDA's ATC Summer Showdown to see if I could squeeze out a few more points from the square sandbox.  While Mi was good at R4L, he was tense and then tired and tense, and I knew there was so much more in there.  When I got my ride times for the Showdown and saw both tests would be in the indoor coliseum, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed.  So much for getting rid of that tension.  But, oh well, might as well push the limits.  And that we did.  Little jerk.  Day one was reasonable - judge's platform still scary as heck, but he coped.  And I was hopeful we could get 5 points higher on our return into the coliseum on day 2.  Little jerk. The second I took him out of the warm up arena and pointed him towards the shoot to the coliseum - he said, oh I don't think so...  that's the primrose path to hell!  Little jerk. Technically, he performed the movements.  Technically, his score of 63.378 earned him a pretty 4th place ribbon (out of a class of 9).  And technically, he was border line temper tantrum the entire test.  And when I took him back out to the warm up arena after his test, he had a full on temper tantrum.  Big jerk. You know how little kids scream and kick the floor and roll around?  Yeah, try sitting on 1,000 pounds of that.  I kept thinking of that horse that got eliminated at Rolex (in dressage!) a few years ago for "insubordination."  At least Mi had the "decency" to hold his insubordination until we got out of the ring.  I guess I should be thankful.  So, Mi earned himself an entry to another dressage show - August 31.  Game on.

Meanwhile, I had a super fun opportunity at the same show - for a not-so-fabulous reason.  My long-time student Debi had her beautiful mare, Roxanne, also entered at the Summer Showdown -- but the weekend before she fell very ill and was not going to be able to compete. As I ride Roxanne regularly, I thought it might be a good bit of fun to spin her around the dressage ring, so I picked up the ride in Debi's place - and fun it was!  She kicked butt in all 3 of her classes, winning her mom 3 beautiful blue ribbons and engraved wine glasses!  And our score of 75.172% in First Level Test 1 received an extra award as the show's Reserve High Score!  What good fun!  A huge thanks to Debi for letting me have the ride -- and especially to Debi's Patrick for being my groom extraordinaire for the weekend!

Me & Roxanne - winning First Level Test 1

I guess I was happier about the blue ribbons than Roxanne!
As much fun as we've been having Dressaging-it-up this summer, Mi and I have also been working very hard on putting together our partnership over fences.  I'm learning a lot about him, and he's learning a lot about me!  We have a few more holes to fill and understandings to reach, but I'm getting very excited for the future... and taking the time now to be sure we are ready to do it right soon!

P.S. Katchi wants everyone to know that with all this rain, he's been allowed out of the dressage ring on the nice soft ground a few times this summer!  A huge thanks to Sharon who has been riding him out on the hills for me, accompanying us while Mi does his conditioning work.  Last time out, Katchi was so good and the ground was so soft, that I gave the go-ahead for a little canter spin around the field!  KATCHI LOVED IT!  They both had big smiles on their faces! So fun to watch!!