Sunday, March 22, 2009

A successful, albeit cold, outing

(Edited to add a photo I forgot; see bottom.)

Russell and I ventured out this cold, grey, windy morn to go to a dressage show. To me showing serves the same purpose as getting a lesson - you are paying for feedback. (In dressage you and your horse enter the ring alone to do a proscribed set of movements while the judge gives you a score - and often comments - for each movement.) Considering that our show season last year was cut short by yet another injury (Russell's), we haven't had a lesson in eight or nine months, and we haven't been able to "dance" together often enough since then to get either of us in show shape, I wasn't expecting great things. But I was hoping - perhaps unrealistically - that we hadn't taken ten steps backward, and that maybe we had even somewhat held our ground.

Russell is pretty bomb-proof as horses go, but he came out of the trailer and put on his "giraffe neck." He stayed on high alert and tippy-toed around the grounds as I rode him at a walk to start warming him up; then we moved into the warm-up arena. My instructor (an amazing horsewoman who is also a good friend) came to support me, and helped me "talk him down" - somewhat. Three other friends, plus Rick and Brian, also showed up to support me and take video and still shots. I don't think any of us were expecting too much because he was pretty tense and I was having trouble getting him to soften his neck and lift his back. But time waits for no man, and soon it was our turn to "enter at A." I made a couple of silly mistakes in the test, but overall it went pretty well. My instructor thought it went surprisingly well considering how relatively unprepared we were.

In dressage everyone hopes to score at least 60%, which shows satisfactory proficiency at the level you're riding. So I was delighted when we received 61% for our ride (even with my mistakes), and comments right in line with other rides we've had at Third Level. We DID hold our own, amazingly enough! We'll see what happens from here on out.

I don't have any photos of Russell and me yet, so I'll leave you with some images of the facility where the show was held, and a photo of us finishing a Third Level test in an outdoor ring of the same facility last summer. Oh, and a photo of Brian with my ribbon from today (he always wants my ribbons, no matter what color they are!), wearing my show coat and my headband (I told you it was cold!).
That's it for now from . . .

8 comments:

Kathleen said...

Well, congratulations! Maintaining the level after such a long time out is an accomplishment. Maybe this will be your year to advance, if there are no more injuries.

Dawn said...

Thats fantastic. Congratulations.

Nancy K. said...

Congratulations! It seems you and Russell have both learned your lessons well!

What a beautiful facility!!

MiniKat said...

Wonderful! Isn't it nice to know even over time you both hadn't forgotten much?

That is a beautiful facility. The only way I'd ever have something like that is to make it in miniature... hmmm.....

kristi said...

Congratulation! When did you start riding? One day I would love to learn how to ride! Just gotta find the time......

Kathy said...

Good onya, mate! (Oops...I'm back in the States, aren't I? Better change terminologies. heeheehee)

I think that's an amazing score for not working together for a while and going in "cold". I'm hoping you and Russell continue to work well - together.

(And how's my girl, Inky, doing today? I can't wait to see the little ones!)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Thank-you all for your congrats! Kristi, I've horse-crazy since birth, I think, and grabbed every opportunity to ride I could as a kid - pony rides, trail ride rentals, youth camp dude strings, etc. Got my first horse at 13, an unbroke two-year-old filly that my step-grandfather helped me break. It was onward from there!

Heh, Kathy, I think Dinah may go before Inky! Her udder is firmer, even though Inky's sides stick out a lot further. My farrier/shearer is coming this afternoon to trim Russell and shear Browning and Braveheart; I'm hoping I can persuade him to crutch Dinah, Brava and maybe Inky then.

kenleighacres said...

Congratulations! I find dressage to be the most rewarding of my horse showing memories. I love the picture of Brian :) and the facility is amazing!!!