Well, it feels pretty good to have the first two Grand Prix tests under my belt. The weekend started with torrential rains. It was so much fun unpacking at the show and trudging through the mud. Ha!Ha! Tami Creeser was kind enough to help me at the show…her ulterior motive was to watch and learn, we are gearing up for her first show. Anyway, Nicolai was relaxed in the ring on Friday when I worked him at the show despite some pretty rambunctious horses. On Saturday, it was muggy, but not raining. I had planned to do about 40 minutes of warm-up, and schooled a little of all the moves. I It is always tough to figure out how much warm up is just enough and not too much. Well, we obviously did a little too much, because I didn’t have a whole lot of horse left. I knew I was screwed when on the first extended trot he wanted to canter…I never got a trot until the end of the diagonal. He dropped his back a lot, and then I would get him back, but it was a struggle. We managed to make it through the test without going off course, but it was pretty rough. I had done sections of the test before, but had not put the whole thing together until this test, so I was actually pretty happy that I remembered it all. He was so glad to go down centerline at the end. We passaged to X and got a beautiful halt…unfortunately, it was supposed to be piaffe, which he reluctantly did and then he couldn’t believe we had more passage to do. Miraculously we got a 54%. Not great, but was higher than the second rider, so we actually got a blue ribbon.
I decided I needed more horse for Sunday’s ride. So we went for a 10 minute walk on a long rein on the polo field, before going to the warm-up. Then 20 min of trot, canter warm-up, trying to incorporate a lot of things, but not really schooling the movements, and then more walk. He felt pretty good as we started the test. I was able to keep him through, and he was so much more submissive. We had some bobbles, but otherwise, it flowed, and I was able to ride, think, and plan for the next moves. I had tears in my eyes as we left the ring. I was’t sure we would ever make it down center line at GP. This was not the tension-filled horse that I showed in the past. I now have a willing partner who is supple and relaxed. We have come a long way, and that was what the tears were for. So even though the score was a 57, it was a personal triumph! Thanks to my friends who were there to cheer me on!
Now we need to work on strength and stamina, and continue to work on timing and transitions. It is a work in progress!