Finally, what you've all been waiting for! Show videos with test sheets. This is a long post. Enjoy.
A note about the videos - Albert's owner took the videos for the first two days of the show, and she is self-admittedly not a very good videographer. Some of the videos are hard to watch because she had a hard time holding the camera still, plus it was really cold for some of the tests and her fingers were frozen. I brought our tripod but she didn't use it. So, sorry for the shaky videos!
For non-dressage people - the tests are broken up into separate movements, each of which are ridden for a score from 0 - 10. 0 is not performed, 10 is excellent. In my years of doing dressage I have gotten a few 0's, and two 9's. I have never gotten a 10. Most people are very happy with a 7, and thrilled with an 8. The scores listed in the box called "Collective Marks" are scores for the overall impression of certain attributes of the horse and rider.
Lets start with Albert and Training Level Test 1
Now, this is NOT Albert's first show. He is a very accomplished show horse, having many Regional titles and a Reserve National Championship in First Level, as shown by my trainer. And he's 17 years old. So he's experienced and level headed. I'm just lucky enough to be able to show him.
Score = 66.087% Place in class - 1st. Judge's comments - "Well ridden with flow. Work to develop better bend in canter but steady with hands and connection."
In general I don't complain about the judging, and I think it was pretty accurate this show. Even in Kaswyn's tests, which he didn't get good scores on. Anyhow, for his first test since 2005, Albert was fantastic for me!
Albert and Training Level Test 2
Score = 67.143%. Place in class - 1st. Judge's comments - "He looks a bit tired. He is fairly steady but should maintain more energy and straightness in canter for more 7's."
For this test I took her advice and tried to get him to bend more at the canter. But in the process I made him a little crooked. Oops. And he was a little tired because this was his second test on Friday night. And it was cold! Brrr!
Albert and First Level Test 1
Score = 66.333% Place in class - 1st. Judge's comments - "Showing clear basics and consistent connection with closed quiet mouth. Try to develop better bend and consistent connection to outside rein. "
Since this is first level I tried to elevate the frame just a little without holding him up. I think he did very well here, even though he was really on the muscle and was pulling a little at the canter at times. Still, a very good boy!
Albert and First Level Test 2
Score = 66.389%. Place in class - 1st. Judge's comments - "Not quite as consistent (referring to the rider's effect of the aids) today, but overall balanced and willing. Wonderful pair."
Wow, three 8's in this test! He did get a 4 when he broke from the canter down to the trot when I asked him to come back to working trot from the lengthened canter, but other than that it was a great test. So proud of him! I remember thinking during this test that I might not make it through because I was so tired and my abs were super sore.
Albert did win all of this classes, and there were at least three horses in each of his classes. The show was small, but regardless of his ribbons he got very impressive scores. He's a peach.
Kaswyn and Fourth Level Test 1
Score = 57.907%. Place in class - 2nd. Judge's comments - "Lots of potential. Leaning right throughout. Horse must develop more lateral suppleness for the level. The self carriage is good, but horse must respond better to right leg to develop correct bend and position."
In this test I had an error when I turned right instead of left in the beginning of the test resulting in 2 points being deducted from my final score (not the %). I even had my trainer reading the test for me and I turned the wrong way! I have an excuse, though. My mind was completely blown by the way Kaswyn was acting. He was so excited to be back in the show ring that he couldn't even think straight. He was higher than a kite and was running through my half halts and completely unable to focus. Also several times in the test he thought he knew what we should be doing, and would just start the wrong movement. He was tense, over-adrenalized, and it was not a very good ride. Our score was very fitting and the judge fair. There were only two horses in this class, and Kaswyn got second place.
Kaswyn and Prix St Georges
Score = 55.000% Place in class - 4th. Judge's comments - "Unfortunately, fairly rigid in this test. Not able to bend (suppleness) or develop much reach. Quietly ridden but needs to develop more suppleness."
For this test, Kaswyn was sore. It's evident from the unevenness in his trot strides. He did score poorly on a number of movements in this test, and got the scores he deserved. I think his soreness was a combination of his heel injury and the fact that he worked while he was so tense the day before. Kind of disappointing, but he wasn't 100% ready for this show considering the heel injury. But I'm glad I took him anyway, since the show was paid for.
One last video - on Friday night, between his two classes, Albert somehow got his mane loose. Just as I was about to get on for his second test he shook his head and his whole mane came out of the braid. We did a quick braid job in the stall and then I went to warm up. The braid didn't hold and came out on the warm-up ring, so it had to be re-braided. My trainer started at the top and I started from the bottom. Nothing like a little added stress right before you enter the ring!
All in all, it was a great show. Albert got half of the scores needed to qualify him for Nationals (he needs scores from two different judges I think) and Kaswyn got his whole "Oh boy! We're showing!!!" thing out of his system. He is finally putting on weight and has good energy, so I'm happy. I really miss showing. I'm hoping to hit some schooling shows this summer so I can keep Kaswyn's head in the game. We can't have another over-excited test at Nationals. You don't get second chances there!
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