The best way to describe this one is Wow! Just WOW!
I didn't get to drive Kat last weekend or really even work him. Things came up and it just didn't happen. Such is life. After Apache Junction, I had thought of making a few changes since he has sorta seemed 'flat' and a bit almost lethargic in his work. If anyone recalls, in AJ I was pushing him thru the cones and pushing him thru the obstacles. Cindy was my 'gator and can attest that when I pushed him a little in the obstacles, he popped his butt up in protest. It worked because I backed off of him and let him go at his own pace from there on.
I wasn't quite sure what to do to change his energy levels or interest in things or what was going on to cause it. I have started to use the butterfly instead of the snaffle and as per Gary's suggestion, switched my reins to the top ring instead of the bottom one. He seemed better as he was more forward in the butterfly now, more confident and more accepting of it. He also wasn't blowing thru it and ignoring me either like he may do in the snaffle so we were making progress. Also the few times I have taken him out to work, he has never been exuberant about doing things to the point of me needing to lunge him before we went, or letting anything ruffle him while we are out.
After his performance at the ADT in Coolidge? I'm still not sure of what to make of things. If there's anything to leave me questioning everything about my pony- this certainly did it! It's going to take a lot of thought, at least a phone call to Gary and a very solid plan to work on.
Dressage has never been his strong suit. He hates arena work and being too smart for his own good, this is where we can get into trouble easily. I have sorta worked this one out by only letting Kat walk the pattern once or twice before doing it in the ring, before the judge. Our judge was tough as hell, but fair and did not give high marks away at all. No, no, you definitely had to earn them. Our scores of mostly 6's, a 5 and a 7 weren't as high of numbers as I would have liked to have seen, but the comments were dead on and were things that we did or needed to work on. It turned out, this is this judges first driving show, but dressage is dressage and proper movement is a must. Your horse is either doing it right or they're not. She wasn't giving things away and I can respect that. I actually like that in a judge. Kudos to her and I would like to show under her again.
Our 7 was for the movement of coming down the right side of the arena from H to E, turning left and going across to B, turning right and going down the length of the arena, making the corner and going towards A. Essentially we were working to the left and then to the right. Us scoring well on this made sense since we were going from his 'bad' side to his good one. Kat was forward, he wasn't screaming his head off, I didn't Vicks him and although he got a little pissy here and there, he wasn't dogging along on me either. I lunged him before I put him to the cart and it took him a while to blow off his extra steam. Sure he was creeping when I hitched him, (which I know I shouldn't have mentioned it in my post before the event) but otherwise he gave me no indication of what was about to come.
Before our dressage test, Kat got the chance to pee. Sometimes this is a good sign that he is now going to be relaxed and behaved like he should be. He was given a drink to refill his 'tank' and keep him going. After our test, I headed back to our bucket under the trees in the warm up area and gave him another chance to drink and he did. The cones course was next and in the other grass field at the front of the property, the next driveway down. My 'gator jumped on the cart and we headed over there. Kat was excited and trotted boldly down the road and even loped some on the way. He was calm, relaxed and loose in his movement. Things were going well...