With progress comes rewards

I talked about our first try at Western Dressage back at the beginning of April, showing my scores and judge’s comments. I’ve even got a YouTube video posted with a voice-over of our scores and judge’s comments for our first two (ever!) tests.

By some stroke of luck, we managed to get first in both tests. (Although we were the only ones in the open category in those tests, we still scored higher than the folks in the adult amateur category.) Our ribbons arrived this past weekend – we were just shy of getting the open high point this show too.

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As we’re moving towards filming for our next online dressage show tomorrow, I’m realizing that Hank is capable of doing a lot of dressage stuff without all the proper training – I just never asked for it till now.

Like the trail challenge we practiced (and ultimately failed but learned several valuable lessons from) and the little jumping  we’ve accomplished over the past year, dressage is offering us something new to focus on. It’s working out issues we’ve had in the past, making us think about what we need to do and do correctly.

Dressage – French for training – seems less for us actual ‘training’ as is often thrown around in the horse world. It’s more of training muscles again, for both of us. It’s training our minds to pay attention to each other, to our contact to each other through the bit and the seat. It’s translated to our pleasure work, promoting better self-carriage and an actually slow lope thanks to better communication.

They say to show one level down from what you’re training in dressage. I suppose we’re following that – we do play around with some First Level movements for fun – although we’re mainly staying at the Intro and Basic/Training Levels right now because 1. We’re brand new to this sub-discipline, and 2. We don’t have a regulation large arena (20m x 60m).

Hopefully there will be some actual in-person shows we can trailer to in the near future for us to try a First Level test at (and maybe some classical dressage too…), but for now we’re working on solidifying our basics and trying for scores above 70%.

 


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