Show Reports 2016 - Part 1: Back In The Show Ring

The first weekend in April was our first show for this season. I was waiting for it all winter and again, when it was here, it was exhausting, tiring, full of fun and disappointment at the same time. And full of forgetting your test and loosing precious points in the ring.

Ready for takeoff

We rode our first 3rd level tests (easy ones with two flying changes, no canter half pass or zig zags). To get the second highest dressage license in Austria (RD3), we still need 4 results above 62%. With that, we can enter standard 3rd level tests and start collecting marks there for the highest license (dreaming...).

Just some video screenshots, no pictures of our riding otherwise this time
I knew that the flying changes would be difficult but I had no idea how many things can go bad in a test. Let me tell you that every test had that one point from which on everything possible went terribly wrong - at least when you look at the marks. Before this point, we were even collecting 7s, after that we had everything down to 0.

Still cannot believe how much the connection in canter has improved

On Friday, I already felt confident and relaxed, but back in the show ring the tension was visible. Enter at A was a highlight (6/6.5/7) as well as the 10m circle (6/6.5/7). The first fail was the half pass to the right where we almost had a stop (5.5/4.5/5). The following walk was awarded with 6/7/7, as well as high marks on the two walk pirouettes. The extended walk lacked a bit of shoulder freedom, but at least, no trotting! The first flying change got 6/5.5/4 as it was not at once.

A little nap in between

The medium canter was almost invisible, resuling in bad marks for the transitions from collected canter to medium canter and back (as they were almost not there). The second flying change was croup high and unfortunately, we could not use the double coefficient again. The final trot towards the judges was another hightlight earning  a 7 as well as the halt and salute. On Friday, collective marks regarding suppleness were extremely low (5.5/5.5/5). The final result: 59.875%.

Saturday was already a little bit better regarding my show nerves and my own suppleness. All the video screenshots are from Saturday and looking at the video it was not too bad. But again, we completely missed those changes. Enter at A and the 10m circles git 6.5s not only once, medium trot was not enough. The reinback was also not as good as expected and the walk pirouettes were too small. Then we should have departed with a right lead in canter at C. Hafl never picks up a wrong lead - but he did, earning a 5/3/3 for the canter depart! That was expensive! Change number 1 was 5/5.5/4 and the second even worse (5/5/2) - both were not at once obviously. The extended walk was pretty good though. Due to the missed changes, the result could not have been higher than 58%.

Perfectly fitting stirrup bags - matching my custom saddle cover 

Sunday was like: OMG, what am I doing here? He felt great in the warmup which was extremely short due to us spending way too much time at breakfast. He looked extremely good and we earned lots of 7s (enter, shoulder in, on the centerline and 10m circle) and first part of the test looked pretty decent - until I forgot to ride onto the centerline, and right after that forgot to halt at C for the reinback! So that made up for a lot of missed points. But it went even worse when I rode the diagonal in canter and instead of keeping my inside leg bag for the counter canter, I swang my leg forward and received a great flying change at B! Of course, I should have corrected it which I didn't resulting in 2 movements earning only ZEROS (the counter canter and the following flying change). That was really expensive. The second flying change was there, earning even a 7. Again, Hafl's suppleness was less than we are used to when it comes to collective marks due to the many mistakes in the canter work. Anyway, we still got a 54.833% despite twice forgetting my test and having two movements at zero.

Green season according to Hafl

Most of the comments claimed that contact was not perfect and that often times, transitions were against the hand which is for sure my mistake. Other than that, Hafl had a super relaxed weekend, he even layed down flat during unbraiding. We are happy to be back in the ring!

Totally relaxed during unbraiding

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