CA and I got the horses unloaded and at first we were going to leave them at the trailer, but CA was really nervous about how close to the road we were, so instead we took them down to the arena where we were riding and tied them along the fence there. That seemed to be the best option for the day, and most of the riders did so with their horses.
I had charged the video camera and asked J if she would video the dressage test for each of the riders. She agreed, so then I asked each of the riders if they would like to be video taped and they all said yes.
On Sunday, there were ride times for each test. Tarrin went through the test with the rider, giving coaching where needed, and then the rider rode the test again, this time for a score. About forty minutes before my test, I took Ashke back to the trailer and got him saddled. CA came with me and got Bretia ready as well, since the two of them were losing their minds when they were away from each other.
When we got into the warm up ring, CS was there and we rode together for a few minutes, before moving away to our specific warm ups. My goal was to get Ashke really tuned into me and both of us relaxed. I started with asking him to walk on a loose rein, like we do when we are trail riding. Once he was loose and moving easily, we started walk-stop transitions on a breath. Once he was doing that every time, we moved to trot-stop transitions on a breath. I asked for a brief canter in both directions and he complied. Then we waited for our turn. In the future, I will ask for a little more canter to the right, until he is warm enough to transition up on a step instead of half the arena. That was one of two things we struggled with in the test.
When we entered the ring for the practice, Ashke was completely focused on me, relaxed and listening. We rode through the test the first time and he was amazing. Tarrin did some reminding, but she didn't stop us and have us work any of the test again. When we finished, I closed my eyes, wrapped my arms around his neck and bawled. It was an amazing feeling. Then we rode it for a score.
It was not as good as the first time in a couple of the movements: we missed holding the canter on the loop from F to M, but overall I was very pleased with our first ever dressage test for a score.
We scored a 62%. We got an 8 on our extended walk and an 8 on the stretchy trot. We also got a 4 on the canter from F to M looping to the quarterline, which is fair. Our canter needs work. And our canter transitions at K did not happen. It gave us plenty to work on.
The most important thing I learned though was to focus on my horse - to just be with him. To be soft and relaxed and trust that he would listen. It might not always work, but it's a great place to start.
We broke for lunch. That was a lot of fun. I really like the people involved in HCWE and it's always a good time to just hang out.
After lunch, Tarrin worked us through the final obstacles. The sidepass poles were as expected. The gate in reverse was a bit difficult. Ashke and I have worked the gate at SQA backwards (pick up rope with right hand, walk forward, back in a half circle around the posts, walk forward, halt and replace the rope) but obviously not enough. After several struggles, I got him through the gate and then he was like "O! That's what you wanted?" The bending poles were different from how we were riding them. The half circles were not as exaggerated as we had been riding them. Although, I think I want a little more half circle to them, since it will help with transitions. The final obstacle was the pitcher, which was as expected.
Once we had gone through all of the obstacles, we rode them for a score.
J only videoed me in the afternoon. We were afraid the back light from the far door would make it really difficult to see . . . . we ended on a score of 64.57%. Most of the comments were that Ashke was above the bit, which we are working on and have been working on since forever. Tarrin told us to keep working on it and that Ashke had a lot of heart and a lot of try. We should keep working on the trot, until he was able to do the EOH at a canter.
CA finished her ride with Bretia, while J and I watched. Then we loaded up and headed home.
I have to say, I learned a lot during the clinic. I also got scored on both the dressage and the EOH phase. I have a handful of things to work on and lots of practice for both of us. Overall, it was really a great two days.