Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Thank You Note

To each of you - a big, heartfelt, sincere thank you for your comments on my last post.  To my regulars - in some cases, we have been commenting on each others' blogs for years now, and I no longer refer to any of you as "a girl who writes one of the blogs I follow," now I just say "my friend" when something you wrote comes up in conversation (which happens more often than you'd think, since you all write about horses, and I'm usually talking about horses).  Although I've never even met some of you in person, I really value the friendships we've made.  And to my anonymous commenters, thank you for reaching out and taking the time to comment when you ordinarily would not. It makes me feel good to know that my post connected with you, and it reminds me that there are hundreds of you (you show up in my stats!) who don't comment but read the blog every week, and I'm grateful for your silent support too.

In no small part due to your kind and thoughtful advice (each of which I read and thought about very carefully), I was in a better frame of mind yesterday when I met up with Ethan for dinner, and we had a genuinely fun time.  We talked, we laughed, we listened to each other... if it had been a first date I would have been calling my friends to gush about him. We still have a ways to go and many things to figure out, of course.  But it was a positive step.

Now onto something horse-related.  I promised a more in depth recap of how my test went.  We had two judges, one a C and one at E (my first time riding with more than one judge). C judge commented that our opening halt was a little early, and E judge commented that we walked into it (true, he anticipated the halt).

My impressions were that the trot lengthenings were a little conservative, we showed a difference but we usually do better, he felt like he got into the indoor and slowed everything down to get a good look around.  But both judges gave both of them a 7, so they must have looked better than they felt.  Both judges commented that I need more bend in the half circle when I go from the rail to the centerline for the leg yields, so I will work on that for next time.  The leg yields themselves were good, they got 7's except for the "C" judge who said the leg yield left was losing impulsion, which makes sense.  I often find I have to ride really hard to complete that movement and get him to keep moving over all the way to the rail and not lose his alignment.

The only part of the test that I was not totally happy with was the free walk, Tucker kind of yanked the reins out of my hands and while I got him to drop his head, he didn't stretch down and out.  And then he kind of threw his head in the air for a step when I picked my reins back up.  So that scored a 6.0/5.5.

The left lead canter transition got a 6 from both, and left 15m circle got a 7 and a 6.5.  They said he was a little stiff through the transition, which was probably true although I don't specifically remember.  Good energy and accurate balance for the canter circle.  The left lead canter lengthening got a 7 and a 6.5.  I actually loved that lengthening because I felt like he stayed really round but the C judge said he was on his forehand.  Still that seems like an improvement over him getting rigid and above the bridle.

The canter/trot/canter transitions across the diagonal got a 7.5 from the judge at E and a 6.5 from the judge at C.  I'm going to say that the judge at E had a better vantage point because I thought this part was really smooth and went better than it ever has before.  The remainder of my test (15m circle right, lengthening right lead, trot transition, stretchy circle, centerline, halt) got 7's from the judge at C.  I would agree with that, it all felt really smooth and consistent even if none of it was world record breaking.

The judge at E went with a 6.5 for a couple of those and a 6.0 on the stretchy circle (which was directly in front of her).  She says "Reins too loose, hands too far apart, horse needs to stretch into contact."  I agree with all of this, because we are still working on it.  He initially went to stretch, I let my reins out, and then I was losing him so I spread my hands to maintain contact.  Still, for us, I think the stretchy circle went fairly well.

As for the collective comments on the back, while they aren't all glowing, I kind of love them.  The judge at E said "Beautiful ride! But should not be in half seat. Help horse off forehand by sitting back more."  Yes Judge, I will be working on that for the remainder of my riding career.  The judge at C said "Elegant horse and rider combo - develop more elastic connection/over the back for extra points. Tactful corrections."

Beautiful, elegant, and tactful.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We were really trying!  Sigh.


  1. I too will be working on sitting back for the rest of my riding career, and I don't even ride dressage. Glad you had a nice dinner last night.

  2. that's a lot of awesome commentary - congrats! i have zero idea how i would cope with a second judge at E... i'm always super aware of exactly what the judge at C can (and can't) see (and hear lol) and a judge at E would rob me of all my little fibs!!!

  3. I love your focus on the positive comments--I get way too hung up on the negative comments and omissions and then I just feel bad about myself. So here's to you! Stay positive. :-)

  4. I agree, those are great comments. And a super pretty ribbon.

  5. Good job on the dinner and on the test.

  6. Sounds like a great test!
    I missed your post yesterday but just read it. Ditto other comments. And I can totally relate to your feelings about other bloggers. I consider other bloggers my friends. And some of them have become the closest I have.

    Happy to hear you had a fun dinner. :)

  7. Great commentary on the test!! And also, very glad that you had a pleasant dinner with Ethan - I know how CHARGED old habits get and I'm super happy to hear that you were able to set it aside and relax into the moment.

  8. Sounds like a super nice test, congrads! I too rode for two judges for the first time last weekend and YIKES! No getting away with anything lol!

    I'm also glad you had a good dinner out. "Little things" like that are what build a strong relationship. :)

  9. Such thoughtful comments are the stuff of dreams!! I'm glad your dinner went well.


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