A short timeline :) for our very first dressage show together.
For anyone new who hasn’t heard the story, Paddy is a new horse by 8 weeks as of today. While having a very basic background in dressage, he is still very green.
I rode him for about two weeks when he came up lame with a stone bruise. It took 12 days for that to clear and then he had teeth problems which meant we didn’t really get anything “done” by way of training as he was just too uncomfortable…this was for about 4 days’ until I could get the tooth doc to come out and float his teeth.
Our barn has a quarantine routine and all new incoming horses are quarantined for two weeks. Problem is, when it came time for Paddy to be introduced to his new paddock mate, said paddock mate had a runny nose and cough so Paddy was only getting turned out about two hours a day so as not totake a chance on him contracting whaever the other horse had..not nearly enough for his energy level.
Once he was sound from the stone bruise and his teeth were done, he was like a pogo stick to ride..always up and down due to excess energy no matter how much I free lunged him. A few days before the stone bruise we had a dressage clinic and then had another one a couple of weeks back. There was also a formal dressage lesson in there so he wasn’t totally without SOME decent training; it just wasn't consistent.
Last week was his first real week of all day turnout and the difference was incredible..his whole attitude changed. We spent the week really working the Intro tests in prep for the show today which also included desensitizing him to strange things like the dressage letters, flowers, squeaky swings, the judge’s tent…..however, what I failed to plan for was a chain saw taking out small trees and water being tossed off of a high porch, out of buckets, from one of the houses that neighbor the outdoor arena we use for the dressage shows :)
The first test was fantastic even if he WAS a little tense and short in his strides but the second was just plain funny due to his spooking at the chainsaw and the water. I can’t be angry with him as he really did do fantastic given the little bit of true quality training time I was able to put into him (due to the lameness and teeth and lack of turnout) .
We took second in Intro A with a 59.83 and even a surprising 3rd in Intro B (the “spook” test) with a 58.13. The classes weren’t huge, 7 and 6 respectively but hey, it is a start and a good baseline. The judge probably thought I was a moron after the first test as I was so happy I burst into tears. I was in tears after the second test as well but that was due to laughing most of the way through the test :)
Have to say I like this dressage stuff . You may screw up on a movement but there is always the next one to ride. In the second test we did a couple of really nice half passes, a solid sidepass and a pretty good turn on the forehand …too bad these movements were NOT a part of the test.
Vid 1 is Intro A; Vid 2 is Intro B.
The pics are of Paddy in his turnout area afterwards, showing how exhausting showing in two dressage classes can be for a horse :)