Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Having had a fairly average winter with a few low moments I wanted to log my progress with Alfie as we head back to BD shows
It will be a good exercise for me to debrief myself after the actual shows and I want to be able to look back and see our progress
Having stepped up to Unaffiliated Elementary last year it looked promising we would be able to maintain a fairly decent score at this level but over the summer of 2018 Alfie started to struggle and we were getting very frustrated with each other.
This month I decided that in order to get the frustration under control we needed to drop back to prelim and have a bumble about. We would pick one prelim and one novice test for the BD outings.
I wanted to drop back to Prelim for a few BD outings to get our confidence and accuracy back.
The prelim tests are more for me so I can concentrate on how I give the aids but to also take some pressure of Alfie whilst the work is inconsistent.
Cherwell Competition Centre 03.03 We started off with P17 and N22. N22 will be our Trailblazer second round test in the summer and one we needed to start riding through
Soggy but not too wet and finished both tests with a smile First judge wanted a softer rounder Alfie which I agree with but still disappointing low % for a test that I felt was generally a lot better than previous shows. Decided to carry on working in the warm up between the tests to try and release the canter so I had a stodgy start to the second test. Our energy levels picked up once we started cantering but we had already lost silly marks for loss of activity Struggled with the canter straightness today which showed up in the mediums on the video, screen shot below. In my effort to set up the long side I over corrected and trying to get straight again we lost the quarters and then it got messy. Having worked on the counter canter to trot to canter transitions with Ali I was pleased with today but then at the end of the test the comments ''Ride through to the bit rather than use rein aid to keep round'' hit a bit hard as I thought we were doing ok having had no giraffe moments
East Soley 10.03.19
We had booked into East Soley for P13 and N24, with no riding mid-week our outings are more school hire than show day so I thought I would throw in a cheeky mid-week unaffiliated outing to run through N24 at North Farm.
The wind at home wasn't that bad when we set off for East Soley but Omg strong winds and hail at the venue was fairly challenging.
The warm up was fairly sheltered from the wind so the cold feel factor wasn't too bad once we got moving but just in case Alfie was feeling the weather we started off in the 1/4 sheet which he seemed to appreciate The hail pelleted down on the indoor arena roof in our first test which got Alfie a little bit too up in his neck/back. Then he decided the wooden pheasant in the corner might eat him, despite trotting past it numerous times yesterday. So our first test was a bit lower on the % we were aiming for.
Neither test had walk freestyles which is a bonus. Picture shows our Medium Walk, we are still tactically not completely picking up the rein contact. Second test was a lot smoother but again the warm up was so much better than the test.
The transitions were smoother but I could have ridden them braver and more forward. Although the trot died way before we got to the end of the diagonals both medium trots were up, active and didn't rush. The canter was comfy which was a bonus as it normally bumps you up the bum, throwing you all over the place.
Lots to like and lots of improvement
Berkshire College 17.03.19
BCA was a good venue to pick this month for P19 and another chance to run through N22. We haven’t been there for a while and it will be our DTM Qualifier venue in the summer, so it was good to return back for some indoor arena familiarisation.
Again the warm up was far better than the test but the warm up felt really awesome and that was amazing progress for our overall confidence
I was pleased with how P19 rode, except for the cheeky Medium Walk Jog. Alfie is so funny when you go from trot to medium walk in this test he goes behind the leg then he picks up speed towards the end of the free walk and then anticipation creeps in for the medium walk back to trot. Its like riding two different horses.
We had a chat with judge number 1 after the prelim test and the main comment was Alfie was holding too tight in the canter for higher marks. I let the canter go longer and bit more swingy in second test which was nice and comfy to ride.
Judge number 2 thought one of our med trots needed a 4 booooooooo, other than that it felt like a much improved test
I will update this blog with the score sheets soon
I have my check sheet / directives from our sessions with Ali and doing easier tests gives us some more thinking time so we can work on soft back and small subtle corrections
Cant wait for the clock change and better weather so we can crack on with some evening lessons