SPHO Spring Show and dressage lesson

This weekend was great! The Standardbred group’s Spring show was Saturday, which we took Louie and Yogi to. Yogi did perfectly, of course, but Louie was the real star – he was just amazing compared to Equine Affaire. I’m so glad he got to go and get a good show experience.

I showed first of the club, on Louie in an adult equitation class. Louie was nervous and shied a couple times, but nothing major. I got to ride in Kathy’s new saddle, which I looooove. So much better than her old saddle! Anyway, I thought we both did well, and we earned second place out of four entries.

Next was the elite equitation, which Yogi and Julie won. WOOHOO!!

Next was the adult standardbred equitation, which Julie and I both showed in. We ended up getting sixth and fifth, respectively, which I thought was a little…inconsistent…with the previous judging. Oh well.

That was the end of my showing. Directly after our equitation class. Julie rode Yogi and Kathy rode Louie in an open English pleasure class. Again, the judging seemed inconsistent – Julie and Yogi moved very slowly and steadily (it’s a pleasure class!) but only earned a sixth (I believe). Kathy didn’t place.

Lastly was standardbred English pleasure. Kathy and Julie both showed, again. Louie was even better, earning Kathy and Louie their first ribbon – a gorgeous white fourth (out of six, I believe)! Yogi and Julie earned a third.

Overall, it was just a really relaxing show. We know a lot of the people there, which is nice, and we show there often, so we’re familiar with the grounds and the processes. Louie and Yogi were so relaxed, and they were super happy with the long green grass at the trailer. Drama-free day!

I did miss Robbye quite a bit. It hurts my feelings a little bit (okay, a lot) that I’ve been working and studying so hard and yet I don’t get to show off my horse. Of course it’s not Julie or Kathy’s fault that they have standardbreds and I don’t, and Julie has been working really hard to get us a mode of transportation for 3 horses. Plus she’s been training me and Robbye more than she’s been riding Yogi. I was a huge grump Saturday morning because I had to leave Rob behind – I really shouldn’t do that to Kathy and Julie. New goal.

Sunday I got to work Robbye with some dressage stuff. First we did our first ever lateral work. She really has no idea what I’m asking for when I try to cue with my legs. We did some work from a halt (with her nose pressed up against the wall, ask her to move sideways), but the lightbulb hasn’t clicked yet. I’m thinking about working her on the ground today with that stuff. We’ll see if I feel like riding.

Next, we worked on changing her bend across the diagonal, in preparation for simple changes. Even at the trot, it’s hard work for both of us, but with that I feel like she did understand what I was asking her. She’s getting to the point where I don’t have to pay attention to her bend at all – she does it on her own. Wow.

Next, we worked on transitioning from a bent canter (on the short end, in a circle) to a straight canter (on the long side), while maintaining balance and rhythm. That was hard work as well. As we transition, I really have to sit down and maintain her rhythm with both my seat and my hands (lift), or she’ll fall out of the canter. Overall, though, I felt like the exercise went very well – I have so much more control at the canter, nowadays.

Lastly, we did a couple sorta simple changes. We would pick up the canter at the beginning of the short end, circle at that end, canter the long side, then trot sometime during the short side, trot down the diagonal, change reins as usual, then ask for a canter on the new lead. We did this twice, and it was very messy both times. Finally, we simplified it to just trotting down the diagonal, asking for a canter before we hit the wall. She did it great one time, and on her harder lead, so we stopped there.

Great lesson, as usual! Julie said that my sitting trot has improved drastically and that she has nothing to critique in my equitation, which is a huge compliment, of course! I’m sure when I find another instructor she (the new instructor) will tear my equitation apart, lol.

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