While the comments on many of my previous tests all reflected me loosening my death grip on the reins, I felt the need to consistently hang onto Kat for dear life. I thought I had to, to keep him in the ring and keep things sort of under control. My plan for this one was to let him go. See what he did when I let him have his head. Stop fighting him, stop pulling on him, just let him have his head and do his thing.
Another thing I changed at this ADT was that I decided to do what I can about the constant screaming and calling. I was going to try to put an end to it. Every time Kat started to make noise- he got in trouble for it. Maybe if it hurt, maybe if it stung, maybe if it was as unpleasant for him as it is for everyone else around him... Maybe he would shut the hell up! He did quiet down considerably and knew he better watch it when I was within range. It was considerably less screaming than in the past, but it still happened some.
One thing that came to mind as we were whipping thru our test- This is probably the fastest a dressage test has EVER been done! Our comments are likely to read "rushed", "rushing", "too quick" and who knows what else...?
Kat was on a mission. He was amped up and I just wasn't in the mood to be pulling on him, fighting with him or dealing with it. We trotted in, he halted, I saluted and we were off to the races. He did behave pretty well considering, but everything was just plain FAST. We had no working trot to speak of and when it came to the lengthened trot- I just let him go and kept telling him to "Just keep it at a trot. No cantering allowed here." Our lengthened walk, I thought he would break into a trot at any moment, but he didn't.
When we halted before the judge, he fidgeted and wiggled, squirming all over the place. At one point he backed up on his own. I went with it. After we saluted the judge asked me in an incredulous manner with disbelief- "Was That your back?" I uttered "No" and she said- "Do that over". We did, I took control of my pony and he did a nice rein back this time. It didn't help our score of a 3 for the movement any, but it left the idea in Kat's mind that he was not in charge.
Later when I talked to the judge, who is a club member and friend of mine, we joked about having fast times in Dressage as well as cones and hazards. She said half halts would have helped and I asked if a few "Whoa Dammit's!" would have as well. "SURE! Anything at that point... He was booking it thru that test." Another friend that helps with the scoring was laughing along and said "Dressage test in 30 seconds or less. WIN!" If only it worked that way... *sigh* Our score was a 68 something. The other entry in our division scored a 61 something, so we weren't too far off the mark.