I was hoping to have a fairly competitive test, but I knew I would be in good company. This horse trial is set up in teams, so all the divisions are open divisions. That meant that May and I would be competing with everyone from professionals on young, fancy prospects to kids on been there done that school ponies. Given that, again, we hadn’t been out at this level in FOREVER, I really had no expectations.
As a result, I set my goals on the things I could control. I wanted to ride a forward test. I wanted a free walk that had some good swing but without pushing May so much that she jiggs. And, biggest goal at all, I wanted two NICE canter transitions. Those movements have given us some grief in the past.
Overall, I think we really accomplished that. The only part I was a bit unhappy about was the last few movements of our test. She got tense in the walk work and kept asking to trot, and I got a bit handsy into the transition. The rest of that trot line wasn’t great, so we fought a bit into a mediocre halt (which somehow got one of our higher scores).
So… let’s go through the movements, scores, and comments.
- Enter Working Trot. Track Right. Forward and Straight 7.0
- Circle Right 20m, Working Trot. More Inside Flexion 6.5
- Half Circle Right 20m. Working Canter Right Lead. Prompt 6.5
- Circle Right 20m Working Canter. Steady Tempo & Connection 6.5
- Working Trot. Forward transition 6.5
- Change Rein. Working Trot. Increased Tempo. 6.0
- Circle Left 20m Working Trot. Fairly Supple Circle 7.0
- Half Circle Left 20m. Working Canter. Prompt. 7.0
- Circle Left 20m Working Canter. Haunches in on Circle 6.0
- Working Trot. Forward Transition. 6.5
- Medium Walk. Needs Energy in Walk 6.0
- Change Rein. Free Walk. Good Stretch. More overstep. 6.5
- Develop Medium Walk. Could March more in Walk 6.0
- Working Trot Forward transition 6.5
- Down Centerline More Bend in Turn 6.5
- Halt Through Walk. Solute. Almost Straight 7.0
Collective Marks… all 6.5. Suppleness and straightness are underlined. Could be rounder through top-line at times and show bend more. Seems like a happy partnership.
Here’s the full video.
Now let’s talk about this, because I have some feelings.
For movements 3 – 5, I got positive comments and an ok score. To me, this is so incredibly unhelpful. The comment “forward transition” shows up three times on the test, all with 6.5 scores. If you are giving me the 6.5, PLEASE give me an idea of WHY that wasn’t a higher score. Both canter transitions have the same comment but different scores. why?
The more overstep comment in the free walk makes me laugh a bit. She is a long horse with short legs. ANY overstep is a big deal for her, but I get it, it’s not exactly what the judge wants to see.
Now after sitting and scribing in a judges booth all day, I know that sometimes nuances can be lost in translation, but that is why the judge has the section at the bottom to write their own comments. More bend? Got it. You’re right. She got a bit stiff on me to the right for sure. More Round? This is BN. My horse is forward into the contact with her nose at the vertical or slightly in front of it. In my opinion, that is an appropriate frame for the level, but you all let me know what you think!
Luckily, I had set goals outside of a number for this show, and I think we accomplished them. May was forward thinking through the whole test. The free walk showed the horse really coming over her topline in a relaxed fashion, while pushing from behind. AND The canter transitions were MUCH better then they had been. Overall, super happy in the progress I am seeing in her work.
We ended up with a 35 which stuck us in 11th out of 25, so firmly in the middle of the pack heading into Show Jumping!