Friday, July 17, 2015

Working on First Level Test 3

Last night I went out and walked the distances between the letters to set up my dressage ring of cones, and Stacey (one of the W&PC gals) and I laughed at how it probably doesn't occur to many dressage riders to walk the distances like they're walking out a line of jumps.  But seriously it works -if I know how big to step to walk out 3 feet, and one meter is 3.28 feet, one slightly bigger step is one meter.  Easy peasy.  It gets slightly more complicated with a large horse in tow and sometimes requires me to carefully balance on one foot while clucking to get him to keep walking with me (which is probably very amusing for on-lookers), but it works!

And then we ran through all of First Level Test 3, thanks to our super awesome BFF (barn best friend) Alyssa who offered to read for us even though she'd probably much rather be home eating dinner and drinking wine like a normal person.  We've been working on the "new" stuff - canter single-loop serpentines and zig zag leg yields.  Those actually went really well last night, so that's good.  But it turns out those are not the most challenging parts of the test.

Did I accidentally forget that I was supposed to be doing all my canter transitions at a letter so I could practice picking them up the way I need to during a test?  I may have.  I seem to have an inability to pick up a canter at C or at A without having a really awkward giraffe moment.  Which is unfortunate. I guess usually when I ride I just take my sweet time setting it up and then ask whenever it feels like he'll do it well, instead of making it happen at a particular moment, which it turns out is the opposite of helpful.

Also trot to halt?  That's a thing I'm supposed to do.  I'm really good at walk to halt, and halt to trot. Sadly walking four steps into your halt is frowned upon after training level.  And we have to do it three times in this test.  One time across the centerline, so the judge will get  a side view of that hot mess. He is slightly more square behind though after some of Amy's halt exercises, if that counts for anything.

Turns out that I also have no idea how big a ten meter circle is.  I think I've been doing 8 meter circles.  Ten meters touches the centerline.  Did you know that?  Well, we both do now.  Also 15 meter circles at A and C go beyond the quarter line.  Unless you're doing a 15 meter oval, which I executed flawlessly last night.

This one will be a shock to all of you:  If you can't properly sit at the canter, when you do a simple change of lead through the trot, you are going to bounce.  And when I say bounce I mean daylight between butt and saddle.  I almost lost a stirrup.  Awkward.

Finally, I got a trot transition three out of four times I tried to do a lengthened canter to working canter transition at a letter.  Which is not a surprise, since that's where we're at right now.

I have a week to work on it before going to the schooling show I foolishly recklessly entered on Sunday.  So that should be plenty of time to revamp all of this, right?  No problem.  What could possibly go wrong?

In other news, I finally got a conformation photo of him where he is standing like a normal horse. It took a billion tries to get all for legs facing forward, his neck out of giraffe mode, and his wiener put away (why, right when I take my camera out, of all times?).  Not the most photogenic beast.  But he's looking pretty good these days.  Like a reasonably proportionate, decently muscled, appropriately filled out, albeit hard to fit a saddle to, horse. 

 Rather than a llama-camel-shark-cow-mule cross.


  1. That canter single loop serpentine is my NEMESIS (along with everything else in First level, apparently). Gina is like "WE ARE HEADING TO CENTERLINE, FOOLISH HUMAN, IT IS TIME FOR A LEAD CHANGE!"

    I've never thought of walking the test, but that's a good idea. And god knows my 10 and 15 meter circles need SERIOUS help.

  2. he looks great! and that bit about walking the letters like a jump course make so much sense haha (right down to the uncooperative creature in tow...). in a similar vein, one of my trainers tells me to ride circles by counting strides too - a 20m circle has 6 strides per quadrant, 15m has 4, and 10m has 3. i'm terrible with ring geometry so this definitely helps me!

  3. The llama camel shark cow mule etc is awesome!

  4. I think he is built quite nicely!


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