Our first dressage show

This weekend was rather eventful.

Kip and I went to our first horseshow. It was at Donida and was a Dressage Schooling show.
Heidi and I are both Anxious Annies, so we left the barn at 9 am for the 30 minute drive to Donida. My first ride was not until 12:22. We really wanted to get there with pleanty of time, I guess. We found our stalls, and unloaded the horses and our stuff.
We got our numbers, I was 94, and Heidi 66. We got the lay of the land, brushed our horses, hung out a bit and before you knew it, it was time for me to tack up for warmup. This took longer than I wanted it to, but I was the first ride after lunch, so I could warmup in the ring we were taking our test in. Kip was great, very interested and looking around, but never feeing that “OMG I am going to EXPLODE” thing that Imax did. All of the time. Kip was distracted but I could not have asked for better behavior. He was a doll.
Anyway, the bell rang and my first ride was on. Kip was above the bit the whole time, and on the forehand, but he did great. Some comments from movements in our first test:
The good:

Nicely forward
fairly straight
square halt
The not as good:
looses contact, out of balance
fall into trot
could use more prep into transisitons
looses rythm

Then in further remarks:
Left lead canter looses rythm.
Elegant pair, Work to develop constant rounder connection to the bridle and better preparation into and out of canter, especially transition to trot.
That is exactly the comments I would make as the rider. I think the judge nailed our ride exactly.
Second ride was 20 minutes later. It was much better, except I did not prepare him sufficiently for the left canter, knew I was not preparing correctly, psyched myself out, and sure enough, cross-fired and did not get the canter in the corner.
Some remarks
The good:
Active haunches and swing
balanced trot, fairly active and connected
smooth active medium walk
The bad:
hollow unbalanced on left canter
Needs better prep
almost no stretch shown in free walk (that one hurts – Kip has a great free walk at home!)
Final comments:
Lots of potential, can do more to engage from hind legs so that back comes up more and horse reaches more to bridle.
Again, totally fair. The judge was right on in all her comments to me.
So, Victory! The first show down, and Kip proved himself to be steady, sane and perfect. We cam in 6th and 7th in our class of eleven. Not too shabby.
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