First of all, I wanted to say that, overall, this was a great experience, and I am super happy I did it. There were entries from KY, IN, OH, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, IL AND MORE. Definitely a cool way to compete, and the feedback, especially in Dressage, is incredibly helpful as we look for a hopeful return to some kind of show season in 2020.
Overall, two dressage tests and a SJ round cost me $40. If you win a ribbon and want it mailed to you, its another $5 for the postage. So if you think this might be something you want to try, they will be doing another one around Mother’s Day Weekend, so check for updates at Flying Cross Farm on Facebook. (link here)
Originally, I was just going to do one test (Novice A) and one SJ round (Beginner Novice). I ended up submitting two videos of Novice A because I wanted to see the difference in scores in a few places. I knew my first round was better than my second, but I figured it was a good opportunity to get some feedback.
This was our first time running this test in an actual Dressage court and was our first time having a Novice test judged.
Here is the first test:
- A Enter Working Trot
B Track Left
Very Slightly Right 7.0
I am guessing this meant right, but I couldn’t figure out what the symbol was she left. I am assuming she is talking about the fading right before turning left.
- E Circle Left 20M, working trot
No Comment 7.5
- A – C Serpentine of two loops, working trot
Slight Bracing Over X 6.5
I think I was so concerned with her being straight at X that I was a bit abrupt in the change of bend.
- B Circle Right 20M, working trot
Could show more clear bend right 6.5
- Between F and A Medium Walk
Slightly against hand. Needs Overtrack 6.5
This horse doesn’t really have an overtrack in her walk… so we might never be able to score better than that.
- K-X-M Free Walk
Willing to stretch. Needs overtrack. 7.0
This is probably the best free walk this horse has given me. Long body, short legs… not a lot of overtrack, but we will keep working on it.
- Approaching M Develop Medium Wwalk
M – C Medium Walk
Needs Overtrack 6
- C Working Trot
No Comment 6
I wish this one had a comment, but the other test did. I assume it was a similar issue of the transition being too abrupt. But… I was pretty happy with it.
- E – B Half Circle Left 20M, working trot
Between center line and B, working canter left lead
Slightly braced 6.5
- B Circle Left 20 M
No Comment 7.5
I actually liked this canter LESS than the next one. I felt it was a bit too flat.
- Between B and M Working Trot
Little Quick 6.5
I actually redid the test mostly to fix this downward transition because it felt braced and on the forehand. I was happy with her forwardness post-transition. (This ended up getting a 5.5 when I redid it)
- H – X – F Change Rein, Working Trot
Tempo Little Quick 6.5
Noted… what I think feels good is too quick.
- E – B Half Circle Right 20M, working trot
Between center line and B working Canter right lead
Could show more bend, slightly hollow 6.5
I thought we would just a comment on our kind of squishy transition here.
- B Circle right 20M
Falling in 6.5
- Between B and F, working trot
Little Abrupt 6.0
I felt like this was the opposite of abrupt, but ok.
- A Down Centerline
Temp quick on turn 6.5
- X Halt, Salute
No Comment 7.0
Submission: 6.5 (Bracing at transitions)
Comments: Obedient and accurate test! Continue developing more bend in circles. Steady Tempo. good luck!
Final score: 34.048.
My overall thoughts? I was super happy with how accurate this test was. We did all the things in all the places hahaha. Excited to go ahead and put the polish on now to try and scrape out those extra points. I was also happy to see the slight improvement in my rider score (even riding in my jumping saddle).
It’s always so interesting to see what judges are looking for vs. what I think they are looking for. I think next time I am going to ask May for a bit more engagement on a slower tempo, and obviously, a bit more bend. I think those two things will clean up the edges. As for the overtrack in the walk… it’s just not something I think we are likely to ever achieve, but if anyone has tips there, I am open to hearing them.
I ended up riding Novice A a second time, trying to clean up where I thought the issues were. We ended up scoring slightly worse (35.476), but this was mostly due to May jigging when I picked up the contact at the end of the walk and worst downward transitions.
Overall comments: Accurate test, continue development suppleness and bend on circles and engagement in downward transitions. The full video is below (if you want to be bored for another 4 minutes).
Overall, our novice tests placed 4th and 5th out of 7 with the highest score in the division being a 30.952.
I would definitely submit my dressage tests for scoring again for the virtual show in May. The plan is to clean up Novice A and start the work on Novice B (which includes a stretch circle UGH).
Tomorrow! The SJ judging. AKA why my horse is not a hunter…