Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tucker's First Dressage Test

So our dressage test went pretty well, I think (?).  I definitely didn't embarrass anyone, which was my ultimate goal.  I thought Tucker listened pretty well, and I thought the comments were right on point.  I have no idea what the scores mean, but we got all 6's and 7's... for what that is worth.  Our overall score was a 62.8%, which OTB from A Horse and a Half tells me is good?  I have no idea, but I had fun, and I think we put in a good effort. 

The overall comments reflect that Tucker needs to come more forward from the rider's leg, which I think you'll agree with after you view the video.  I also needed more of a stretchy trot -- I wasn't sure how much stretch we should have, so I did our hack class trot, and it looks like I could have gone more long and low.  And as for my riding, well, you'll see all the things I need to work on (right elbow/chicken wing, fidgety left hand, twisted torso, sitting up, etc., etc.).  

All in all though, I think it went quite well, and other than Tucker losing is footing a little in the corner at one point, and anticipating a couple of transitions, I thought he behaved himself wonderfully.  The final halt makes me laugh -- you'll be able to tell that the next horse was on its way to the ring, and Tucker was very excited to have a friend!

So, after all your helpful advice (which I really did my best to follow)... how did we do?  I am nit-picking myself to death, so don't hold back!  Let's hear your constructive criticism.  I for one am going to put jingle bells on my left wrist so that I stop moving my left hand so much!

By the way, at the end of the test, there was a rainbow in the sky!  Although the suggestion was made by a certain videographer, I am not taking this as a sign that Tucker should be a dressage pony.  He is very happy in the hunter ring, and thinks this was the weirdest flat class he's ever been in!


  1. 62.8% is a very respectable score! Good job. I only had time to watch part of the video. Tucker looks like he was a very good boy. I agree with him needing to be more in front of your leg. It looked like you got a lot more "perchy" in the canter so think about sitting up tall and down in the saddle. And don't nit-pick yourself to death. Find a few things you can work on and get those done before moving on. You can't fix everything at once! :)

  2. Agreed! Anything in the 60's is good!!! The biggest thing was that you guys were a bit conservative in all his gaits. At training level the judges really want to see the horse swinging/pushing happily through their rear end. His trot after your walk is a little more awake :) I ride conservatively all the time thinking quiet is good, but then you get dinged for not having enough impulsion (remember when the judge called Pongo "earthbound"? LOL!). You guys looked great and yes, if you want to be a dressage princess you have to have to sit back by sitting on your bum more and really engaging and lengthening your torso through your abs to be taller in the saddle with your shoulders at the vertical instead of in front of it. All that guys could kick some serious butt in the dressage world. I havent seen him move in a while and he looks killer girl!!!! You guys did so well!!!!

  3. Hey, that's respectable. You left hand was pretty distracting. I kept thinking, "What's she doing?"

    Of course, I am easily distracted, so take that with a heap of salt.

    The judge's comments sound spot-on. Hope you guys had enough fun to try it again sometime. ;-)

  4. I think you guys did great. Anytime anyone crosses over their regular discipline, you get major props for having the balls to do it :)

    Most folks who "ride dressage" 100% of the time would be thrilled to have a calm, obedient, mostly accurate test like that! Sure, DQ's sit a little taller, but your saddle isn't doing you any favors there.. and by my standards, Tucker didn't rear, buck or stop at all! so you're way ahead of me and P ;)

  5. Loved the videographer's choice of music. Never knew GNR came in "foofy" music!! Suited the two of you as you happily negotiated things perfectly. I could just eat your boy up!! He looks a bit bewildered as to why he's out there alone, but clearly willing to do whatever makes Mom happy, no matter how odd. I laughed at the end halt too -- he looks like he's saying, "Oh thank GOD! Reinforcements!"

  6. Tucker is so large and seemed to enjoy his jumpless task :)
    Classy GNR it!

  7. Well done :) I thought you did a really good job with your loops - they were smooth and even and flowing. A score in the 60s is perfectly respectable! He was a little over-bent (behind the bit), but I think more forward and still hands (as you mentioned) would fix that. Also, don't rush your halt/salutes - halt for a moment before saluting, and make sure he waits for you before moving off. But that is but a trivial detail. Good job! If I could switch disciplines and do that well on my first attempt I'd be thrilled haha.

  8. I think that you are amazing! Dressage or not I think you are a fantastic horse woman and I look up to you (not literally since you are like 3 feet tall :P) because I really want to be like you someday! I think the fact that you trained Tucker all by yourself (Yes, you are right, he is fantastic, but so are you) and that he can go out and do amazing at a training level test just goes to show that you are a great rider.

  9. Great job! You looked really consistent and had great rhythm, the foundation of all dressage. I agree with a couple of the commenters - you need to sit up staight, not forward, for a dressage seat. Also, the horses's head needs to be slightly in front of or on the vertical, not behind the vertical (the rule book has a diagram I think). Many people today ride behind the vertical, but it isn't correct.
    I recently rode this test too, and also received comments to ride more forward, with more impulsion.
    All in all you did a fantastic job for your first dressage show - very impressive!

  10. Most excellent! I know many DQ's who would sell their first born (but maybe not their horse) to achieve scores in the 6's and 7's across the board: good scores and shows consistancy. And 62.8 is great. First show in a dressage ring on a hunter and you two can work like that? Kudos. I bow to your superior horsemanship.

    Sitting a dressage seat is an uphill fight without a dressage saddle. Possibly a rock climb. Very difficult to open up your hips in a hunt seat. Open hips helps with the sitting into, sitting vertical and letting impulsion through.

    I was thinking "Shoot, forget the dressage test. Look at her great seat!" That's some fine seat work. I don't think your leg moved, ever. :)
    What Stacey said!


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