In all honesty, the dressage score was my main focus at the ADT. Besides a clear round in the cones and obstacles, I wanted to see where we stood, what needed work on and how we did. I also wanted to see how we would compare to those in the next level up- Training Level. We will be up against them next year, or this year if we are ready to move up sooner, but I hope we are ready to compete seriously before we get there.
In driving, you look for the lower scores in dressage. Where a higher score in ridden is great- driven it means you did lousy. Our scores were ok and fair for what we did. Overall we received a 57.18%. If it were ridden, that would be pretty dang cool. For driven- it is still pretty dang cool considering it was our first event, I didn't get to walk the pattern and we weren't prepared as best as we should have been. My next post will be about things I have been told to do, ways to change things and hopefully make some big improvements. The good news- it's already happening!
Training Level Test 4 from the American Driving Society.
Enter at A, working trot, Halt at X. We didn't get a really straight shot at entering at A, ended up a bit off to one side of the centerline and the games begin. He halted at X and took a step back with one foot. We received a 5 for this movement.
Proceed working trot to C, track left C to E. The biggest thing here was our lack of bending. I drove him deep into the corners which was not what I should have done. It accentuated and magnified what little bit of bend we had. We got a 6 here.
E Circle left 40 meters, E to A working trot. Little man was a bit resistant, gaping at the mouth and again we lacked sufficient bend. (bending to the left is not one of his strong points anymore). Although he was pretty steady, he was not exactly consistent and another 6 was noted.
A working walk, F to X free walk on long rein, X working walk. We didn't exactly bring it down to a walk at A- totally my fault since I was trying to remember the pattern correctly at this point. The free walk from F to X, Kat man was looking around and drifting back and forth as I corrected, overcorrected and gawd our tracks went back and forth like no tomorrow. Another 6 handed down.
Between X to H develop a working trot, H to B working trot. Another 6, more notes about lack of bend, gaping at the mouth and not being on the rail along the shortside of the arena. He shied a touch at the judges pop-up shade tent.
B circle right 40 meters, B to A working trot. We did a bit better on this one, he is softer to the right and less gaping at the mouth. Another 6.
Working walk at A, K to X free walk on long rein, X develop working walk. We received a 7 this time on the walk. He was a bit more straight, consistent and stately in his free walk. Moving out more and a bit more focused on where we were going.
Between X & M develop working trot, M to E continue working trot. Another 5 or a 6 for this one. Not so much bending in the turns, more gaping at the mouth and Kat being a bit resistant to comply.
E turn left, B turn right, A down centerline. Our turn at E was wide, our change of bend was not so noticable and we were a bit straighter coming down the centerline this time... another 5 or 6.
Halt at X, wait 3-5 seconds, back 2-4 steps, proceed at working walk. We nailed it with an 8 on this one. Little man knows how to STOP! at the slightest utterance of whoa. Stood like a rock, backed willingly and straight... walked on calmly and quietly.
Working walk X to G, G halt & salute. Another 6 as we weren't exactly straight, but better than before. Still a bit off of the centerline as I was looking at my pony again, not ahead and where we were supposed to be going.
I forget what our collective remarks were, but I know they were somewhere in the 5-7 or 8 range. I need to look at the score sheet again and then post those and the comments along with them.
Overall there were a total of 210 points possible. We received 130 points. From there you multiply your score by 0.714, (92.82) then subtract that from 150- giving you your final score (57.18). Our movements were ranked "Marginal", "Satisfactory", "Fairly Good" and "Good". I am not at all upset by any of this. Sure we could have done better and if we had, the scores would have reflected that. But as it is, this is how we did on that day.
I have since talked to a few people who have all had good advice and tips on how to improve. Ground driving two weeks ago was something I knew we needed to do but I had been putting it off. Why? Well my ego had gotten the best of me and I didn't think we really needed to do it. I also put Kat back into the half cheek snaffle, which also helped exaggerate the cues for me and make it clear to him precisely what I was asking... Walking along the fence line haunches in, was another way of making it crystal clear to Kat, you can turn your head and bend your neck while still going straight. The whip helps reinforce this.
This weekend I get to try out the cart with the latest round of adjustments having been made to it. We will most likely be puttering around out back, but still, arena work is never a bad thing. Only if you don't change it up enough and do your transitions to keep your horses mind occupied with the question of What next? Let's hope it all goes well!