Sorry about the absence, I have been busy finishing my dissertation off (which has now been finished and handed in - yaaay!) So today I went out for our first competition of the year, and in fact since August. Over the winter I have been busy working on his canter and it is now much improved, although today I messed up a bit and thought he was on the wrong leg because he was iffy only for him to change and go onto the wrong one anyway and not change but hey, ho!
This wasn't overly great as we didn't have a great warm-up, however I felt it was reasonable. On right canter we ended up doing it on the wrong leg - so annoyed but hey, mistakes happen. His left canter felt better and I had been worried because in practise he kept trying to toy with the idea of stopping instead! So luckily he carried on moving forwards. He got a fair mark of 58.5% and the majority of the comments were that he was hollow, needs more bend, needs to cover more ground and more balance in the transition from canter to trot. All of these I agree with. Now that we have canter more established, we do need to work on the downward transition as he gets a bit too carried away and then instead of sitting back to go to trot he just runs and falls into trot instead. The judges comment was that he "shows correct paces - now needs to develop more suppleness over back and work into a softer, rounder outline for more marks."
I felt prelim 18 went better, although I thought we had a wobbly entry! His canter was on the correct lead each time, though in the first canter I had to push him to get to M before trotting and in the second one he thought about mucking about on the canter but luckily, when I asked him to move forwards he did and forgot about his idea! Prelim 18 is a harder test for us as the canter - trot transitions are at a certain marker with another movement at the next. I.e. in the first canter you trot at M and walk at C and in the second one you trot at F and turn down the centre line at A. These caused a few issues in practise so after reading through it again last night, I decided to bring him back to trot just before the marker to give us more time to set up for the next movement and I think this paid off a bit today. Two people from my yard were also at the competition, both in the same class, and both said that this test looked better than the first and I was feeling happy, hoping for at least 60%. However, the judge did not agree with us! I was upset to see that we had only scored 57%. The majority of comments stated that he was hollow and occasionally that he lacked bend. The judge wrote: "an active pony who would now use a supple, rounder outline for more marks to be gained." I feel this is fair, and I was happy with her comment about him being active as this is something we have been working on and I am glad that it showed today. It just showed that different judges mark differently.
|New groom in training|
At the end of the day I have mixed feelings about how today went. For his first competition in a while I was happy with how he behaved in the warm-up as he can often play up with other horses around and I felt he did perform reasonable tests. I'm just gutted about the lack of bend as I feel this is always what lets us down and it feels like we're not moving forwards. However, I am going to look through magazines and on the internet as well as book a lesson with my new instructor to try and get ideas on how to improve his suppleness. If anyone has any ideas or knows of any sites or anything which could help then please leave a comment :)
Thanks for reading,