And I mean wiggle. I love Bently, but he has clearly never done dressage and it shows. We have officially signed up for AHANE and because they don’t offer oppourtunity classes like we had last time, we are doing Intro A-C, thus making our first real dressage debut.
When he first came, Bently’s owner had told Trainer C that he does memorize patterns and such, and will often want to stop in the middle just because thats how they line up. So Trainer S, Bently and I have been making up our own tests to keep him from memorizing the real ones and doing them automatically. Our make up tests go something like this.
A enter working trot, C track left and try not to turn too early, horse panics and swerves left. H to X rising trot with mild confusion, X to K trot back faster and hit K a foot early. 2o meter circle at A with canter in first quadrant. Walk at F, B to M free walk. M medium walk. C trot, HXF change rein. KB change rein. 20 meter circle at B. A medium walk, F to E free walk change rein. One more 20 metere circle at C with canter in the first quandrant. A center line, G halt salute.
Making up tests is kinda fun, but we really just keep drilling the things he sucks at most in different areas.
Currently, Bently thinks corners are for losers, riding straight at C is terrifying so we wiggle majorly and drop about 5 mph after X because he wants to turn too early. Diagonals are also wiggly, and hitting each letter he has issues with. Precision is also for loser horses.
Another major issue we’re running into is silent cues. Bently, like most Arab horses I’ve met, were trained to respond to vocal cues first, then physical second. There’s not an issue with it, unless you’re in the dressage ring and can’t afford to loose two points for making noise. So getting the trot conisists of a lot of attempted quiet clucking and squeezing my legs as hard as I can, while my horse just elogates his walk stride and puts his head up like a giraffe. I’ve been using the whip more for this because he ignores my leg and then gets pissy over the spur. The canter transition is easier because its a bit more obvious to him what I want, but the trot still is kinda sucky. When I have to use the spur, he gets all balled up and pissed and pins his ears and I’ve got to figure out how to better get him to move at home.
We’ve been working outside when the weather permits. The indoor footing is getting really hard and because we have a coverall, on hot days the indoor becomes a greenhouse and is extremely hot with zero airflow. I keep asking Trainer C when we’re breaking out the industrial fans.
The outdoor isn’t very horse friendly in terms of how the ring was built. There are a lot of corners that don’t line up right because of how we had to adjust it to avoid deep spots, and Bently ducks out of them because he can’t really get into them with his long body. It also is almost always a dustbowl out there because we can’t really soak it as the spigots are no where near the ring, and we dont have a hose long enough to reach. So I rely on the rain to keep the outdoor dust free, which now that we’re in June, will be non-existant. It has become a which of the two evils do I want to deal with, hot, sweaty and hard footing, or dusty, bad corners and sunburnt? I usually pick dusty bad corners and sunburnt.
Our dressage lessons over the past few weeks have been going really well. Trainer S says our only current downfalls in our tests will be our gait score and if we can’t pull off the precision scores. The canter feels like an absolute dream, and I am in love with it. The canter has always been my favorite gait, and its starting to come together and I’m so excited about it. We still need more stamina but its going so well. Trainer C also mentioned we might be able to pull off a sporthorse class, and as long as we don’t do sporthorse hack, we can pull off a single trot or canter extension. My only panic with sporthorse class is the snaffle bit won’t be enough to get him round and on the bit when he gets into the show ring. He gets into the collisum and starts ramping it up and while the pelham worked wonders, the arab classes are starting to lean towards whats legal within the class. Seeing pelhams are no where near legal in a dressage ring, they aren’t accepted in the sporthorse dressage type class.
Bently had a weird break last week. I had to order a half pad for him because the saddle was sitting too far back and it would slip when he dipped his back. He dips his back when he gets pissed at me for doing up the girth. Never met a more girthy horse then this one that wasn’t a mare. It took a week to get in, but now the girth is still slipping at the tightest holes. Im wondering if we need to swap to a smaller girth, or I need a different girth. I might murder my horse if that is the case.
Overall its taken me three weeks to post this update. Its been nuts at work, so I’ve been picking at this when I have time. My next massage weekend is two weeks away, so the scramble to figure out a name and logo is hitting me. Then its a mess because one week after the third massage weekend is AHANE, and then a week after that is my sister and brother in law coming home for a few days. So, I’m waiting for the panic again.