Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oct 20th Chapter Challenge Prep Show Results

The day was a nice cool fall day.  I was the first rider and surprisingly I got him prepped more quickly than I thought and we arrived an hour before my class.  In fact, we were so early that we beat the show staff there.  Not bad idea though.  Golly had a chance to graze next to the trailer and I had a chance to sit in the cool air and sunshine relaxing.   Quite nice actually!
As we waited for everyone to arrive, Golly pondered his
test and was trying to remember did he go left at C or right?
When I was loading him I saw him jerk his foot quickly in the trailer and I realized the very top edge of the ramp had caught his foot.  When I dropped the ramp at the park I saw blood on his heel bulb and my heart fell.   No way was he going to be sound with that blood on his bulb.   I got some wipes and cleaned up the blood to find a small flap of broken skin -- granted in a bad place but it wasn't too big.   I trotted him around and he seemed sound.   So nice to have a sturdy horse!
Warm up went well -- focused on the relaxation and getting him to bend to the right, bend to the left.  Relax the poll.  Relax the back.  I focused myself on sitting back and asking the energy (what little there was) to come from back to front.   Thought about keeping contact with the outside rein and releasing with the inside rein.  Flowing underneath in a straight line.
My trainer and I had decided to choose our battles at this show.  With my current health issue of fatigue, I only had so much breath to give to the effort.  Golly has a wonderful relaxed attitude as long as you don't ask for energy beyond his comfort level.  Since relaxation is the main theme to the Intro tests, we were going for relaxation even if it meant sacrificing a bit of the energy.
First test was good.  Judge remarked that his head was a bit high and wanted it lower and that she wanted me to use spurs rather than kicking to get the energy.   I laughed to myself because while his head was high it was SO much lower than it was a year ago.   But a judge doesn't know where you are coming from.. only where you are at that moment.
As for the spurs I was using this test to "test" a concept.  Wondered if not using the spurs would give me a more relaxed horse as he wouldn't be reacting to the spurs by tightening his back.   Guess that failed!    So off to find my spurs for the second test I went.
Second test was better.  Because she wanted his head lower I decided to sacrifice perfect hand position and went with what I call the wheelbarrow - hands further apart but connected.  It gives you more of an "open rein" and he responds with better connection and a lower head.  Used the spurs occasionally and got a TINY bit more energy.  Not much though as you can see in the video.  He certainly had the RELAXED down!  At times it looks like he may take a nap in the corner.

So my hope is that at the Chapter Challenge, the chaos of the show grounds will give him a bit more energy without me nagging him and we can keep the relaxation.  Something to work on for the next two weeks.
So what were our results?  I think the relaxation worked -- while Golly is not impressed with his placing, I think he looks fabulous in a first place ribbon! 

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