My goal with this first show of the year was to put in a solid test, aiming for a 30 if we could replicate our efforts at home. Spoiler alert- we didn’t. But we got close!
I think a lot of what’s to blame is that I haven’t figured out the key to unlocking the warmup. We tend to have very relaxed showjumping warm ups, but dressage lacks the suppleness and relaxation that should be there. Despite the warmup area being fairly calm, he was holding a lot of tension through his back and was super stiff through his right jowl. I tried going forward, lots of canter, figure-8s… but none of this accomplished what I was after.
The test then was a bit of the same. There are moments where he takes a deep breath and relaxes, but the centerlines and canter transitions bely the underlying tension. Take a gander to see what I mean:
Overall we scored a 31.4, putting us in the upper half of the 20+ competitors that day. Jack scored a 7.5 on gaits, and I got a 7 on my rider score, which were a big help towards our score. Things I wish we could have fixed obviously include the canter transitions, and being able to get more push in the trot without breaking into the canter (which we got dinged on).
I feel that if I can get the relaxation in the warmup for dressage, these pieces will come. Tomorrow, onto showjumping!