Monday, June 10, 2013

Cooler by the Lake I & II... Or Where Tillner Shines...

This weekend, I brought three students, Tilly and the poodles to their first recognized dressage show (not the poodles, they are old hats at this).
Was it stressful? Yep.
Were there show nerves? You betcha.
Did we survive? Sure thing.

Ok, so maybe the pony isn't a ticking time bomb
As a matter of fact, we kicked butt. All both of my students who were attempting to qualify, qualified with room to spare and my student who's only goal was to stay in the ring earned scores in the 70's. My kids took High Point and reserve high point both days... I looked like the Wonder Trainer... Or at the very least, the impolite out-of-towner who brought in the ringers.  Whoops.
Pony warmup action.

We came, we showed, we conquered... To put it less than modestly.

And then there was Tilly. I'll admit, that she had me a little nervous on Friday's warm up. The walk from the barn to the out door warm up was not her normal calm self. As a matter of fact, I was the only one walking. Miss Tilly opted to passage her way to the arena with her tail over her back and her neck straight up in the air. She even seemed rather large when she was all puffed up like that. Of course when I got on and trotted around on a loose rein for a few minutes, she went right to work. My tension level dropped dramatically when her little pony brain returned to settle between those huge satellite dish sized ears. There was a chance that we might qualify this weekend and I wouldn't look like a total poser as a dressage trainer.

That's the silly thing about horse shows isn't it? Something in my mind starts asking of all of my past shows have been pure luck and I'm not actually capable of riding in a dressage test, even if it is only training level. The self doubting questions come out: what if my pony blows up? have I actually trained her to do any of this? do we even belong at this level? who am I kidding, I'm not as good as these other trainers!
And I know that I am capable of riding a training level test. I mean, training level isn't even really dressage! It's preparing a pony for dressage to come; it's advanced open show riding. If I can't hack it at an open show, then I should probably just hang up my saddle and take up knitting.
Chantilly, not 100% perfect, but still kicking tail

Of course, Chantilly was her lovely perfect pony self. We had a few bobbles with the connection and a slight push towards her inside shoulder in the canter work, but nothing earth shattering. She was most certainly not under prepared for the level and at the same time, capable of so much more that there's room for improvement which only bodes well for the championships.
The canter could use better balance, she wasn't as light as at home

When all was said and done, we qualified with a 72.6% and a 69.4%. Lamplight here we come!

Our other tests earned a 70.8% at training 1 and a 71.9% at training 2. Overall, we were High Point Open rider (and pony) for both Saturday and Sunday.
Tilly's stregth: the stretchy trot
Judges comment: "Too much stretch"

Yay, Tilly!

We qualified!

Tired pony after four tests...

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