NWPAHA Summer Classic Dressage Show

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yup that's right, Bugsy and I went over to the dark side and went to a dressage show.  And I loved it!

Our win at Erie means we are halfway qualified for the 2012 AECs and I want to go.  Bugsy will probably be my best bet to do well there.  And let's face it, although Bugs is nowhere near ready to retire, he is getting older and realistically, he can't keep doing this forever.  So this is it, this is my chance.  And I know the lower levels at the AECs are extremely competitive.  It's not like the upper levels where you can usually bank on moving up a few placings if you jump clean.  At beginner novice you have to have a good dressage score.  And although Bugs and I can muddle through the dressage well enough for here at home, I want to be good.  So I need ring experience, and lots of it.  Luckily last weekend I had a dressage show practically right in my backyard.

Saturday morning, Courtney and I loaded up Kiwi and Bugs for the short drive to Harlansburg for the Open Dressage Show that is held in conjunction with the NWPAHA Summer Classic Arabian Show.  Being so close, Courtney thought it would be a good opportunity for Kiwi to get her feet wet.  And of course we had all our minions along, Astrid, Victoria, and Ari.

First up was Training Test 2, Bugsy warmed up great, he was listening and soft and really just working well for me.  I ended up not needing much warm up at all on him.  We just did some trot work and then our canter departs.  So then I just kept him walking to keep his muscles loose and warm.  Of course when we headed into the ring for the test I got nervous.  And as a result the first half of our test was a little bit tense.  But as we moved through the test I relaxed and things got a lot better!  And apparently the judge didn't see the tension because I walked away with a 73.214!  In a recognized dressage show!  I was shocked.

Then it was back to the trailer and Bugsy got to chill and eat hay for a couple hours before we headed back to the ring for Training Test 1.  Again Bugs warmed up great.  And then this time when we headed into the ring I wasn't nervous at all.  It was a much better test right from the start.  Bugsy was supple and tracking up, working off his hocks.  He felt great in the canter work and he gave me this great long and low stretchy circle.  To me this test felt 100% better.  Enough so that I got the high score of the day with an even 75.000!  So pleased and proud of my Buggers!

Look at that stretch!

And then it was a break for a couple more hours till we rode our last test.  I'll be honest.  By the time we headed over to the ring for Training Test 3 I was tired.  And so was Bugsy.  Dressage is hard work!  We kept the warm up very short.  Just a little bit of trot work and then a quick canter depart on each lead.  Even so we were both tired when we headed into the ring and it showed.  Plus this was the one test I never had a chance to ride at home in it's entirety.  We still had a fairly decent test.  Just not as great as the first two.  We still came away with a 62.400 and lots of things to work on for the next time.

At the end of the day we went home with blue ribbons for Training Tests 1 and 2 and a red for Training Test 3.  Pretty good accomplishment for my first recognized dressage show.  So now we are thinking about heading to Chagrin on October 15th for the NODA Schooling Show.  And we might tackle First Level Test 1.  Stay tuned!