Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dressage scores

Saturdays ATD was judged by British World Champion Driver/Clinician, Paul Sidwell. Our judge for Sunday was Rachael High, who was the same judge for our ADT in Coolidge the end of March.

Our dressage test for both days was Prelim 4

Since thee were two judges and the same test, I will put a P for Paul's scores and R for Rachael's. (My comments in parenthesis)

P- 6. Nice turn down C-LN Little wandering at X (he did)
R- 6 Some fussing in connection

P- 6 Little above bridle at M
R- 6 Slight head wag/counter wag

P- 7 Better paces shown
R- 6.5 straight, round, abrupt turn at F

P- 4 Nice O driven but break of pace before X (he cantered a few strides...)
R- 7 Slight counter bend

P- 7 Little late on the trans at D, good walk shown
R- 6.5 Wants to jigg. Unsteady connection (I don't remember him jigging, but he was pretty pooped)

P- 8 Good length shown (YAY!!!)
R- 7.5 Active walk. Clear stretch shown (I didn't push for his best walk and it didn't feel as good as the previous days walk. Still not a bad score and I'm Not complaining)

P- 7 Nicely driven shapes. Good reg w/trot shown.
R- 7 Right shoulder falling in on 2nd loop

P- 5 Break of pace before X, nice length shown
R- 7 Head wagging slightly but clear lengthening (apparently she either didn't see it or at least mark us down for the last few strides when he cantered)

P- 6 Good turn on C-LN little early on halt
R- 6.5 Slow to settle in halt

P- 7 Rein back nice
R- 6.5 Some stickiness in rein back

P- 7 Nice straight C-LN good halt at G but with a little resistance
R- 6 Head wagging

Collective Scores
P- 7 Nice freedom of movement and active working trot
R- 7

P- 6 Plenty of Imp shown, sometimes a little too much (Always better than not having enough!)
R- 7

P- 5 showing signs of res w/ mouth opening when contact is applied.
R- 6.5 too much head wagging. Needs steadier connection

Driver- P- 7 Nicely driven test
R 7 arrow to comment above >>> too much head wagging. Needs steadier connection

The scores under Paul are awesome to me even though it was a tad higher than the score on Sunday. I was glad to have done so well after both of us having so much time off and especially after having bombed out at the last ADT in Prescott. Although the score of a 4 for our circle and the comment about it being so good didn't make sense to me. Gary explained to me later that normally breaking gait like that might have gotten a score of a 3 or even a 2. Paul was being generous in giving us a 4 for it, or the circles were that good that they made up for the break in gait. So it could have been worse...

The lower scores per movement on Sunday under Rachael are nothing to sneeze at either. His dropping his shoulder in the serpentine, the head wagging and loss of connection were all signs of a tired pony as described by my friend who has been giving me pointers. She was mighty damn impressed with the scores for our lengthened walk as she has always stressed this one to me and thankfully we finally caught on! Comparing our score on Sunday to those under the same judge back in March, much Improvement was made! We went from a 58.25 to a 48.97 which is a drop of 9.28 points. Now remember, in driving you are looking for the lowest scores. So to make an improvement like that? Wahoo!!!!

Another thing worthy of mentioning is that way back at the beginning while at our first CDE, it was mentioned to me by a few different people that someone else had told them, they had trained my pony. Um, yeah. When confronted about this, their response was, "That's bullshit. Total bullshit." I agree. It is bullshit! I haven't worked with a trainer with Kat, other than getting a few pointers here and there from Gary, via photos and half assed descriptions in emails of what I thought I needed to work on. If it were true that someone else had done the work and trained my pony for me, why then are we still holding our own in dressage at the ADT's? Taking into account that we've also moved up a level and don't have a lot of time to put into training, (mostly our work consists of a LOT of long trotting on the trails for conditioning purposes) sure we are still getting our asses kicked by a couple other people, but our dressage scores aren't usually far off from theirs, so I have no complaints.

I'm still excited to see how far Kat and I take it. Shoot we've already gone from being total newbies in the sport and not having a clue starting out, to having done 2 CDE's placing 4th and then 3rd respectively and gotten Res. CH in the ADT series our first year out in the *Green Driver* class. Then we skipped pretty much everything last year, came back moving up to prelim and done well enough so far. We need to work on some things and I will be posting more about that later, but things can only get better from here. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ADT #6 & ADT #7

I haven't said much about getting Kat going, but for a change we got to compete over the weekend. It was fun to be able to get out there and give it a go again and since the ADT's were back to back it kept costs minimal. We were and still are in 3rd place in the year end standings, this just helped make it stick. We placed 4th both days, thru some error or another, but for the most part we had fun. Our scores under both judges were respectable and probably the best we have gotten so far. All things considered, how can I not be thrilled about that?

Over the weekend I had one of those A-HA! moments with my pony. You know when the light comes on and you finally 'get it' in relation to something that you're doing or not doing. That's when you know what changes need to be made and from here on out, it is going to make a HUGE difference in how things are going.

I was also complimented and congratulated on gelding him. And let me tell you... he was so much BETTER to deal with the whole time. There was not one mark on our dressage scores about him 'calling' and I think all totaled, he whinnied maybe 3 times over the two days. Big change there, BIG CHANGE!

As for the Katman, he's going strong. We have a play date to take a friend of mine out for a drive next weekend and then the following weekend is the Darby and Christmas party in Coolidge. We've also been invited to go caroling with a group from the driving club, but I'm not sure if we will be able to make it but it sounds like fun...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My pony Rocks!!!

But you all know that. Right??? lol

Something happened a while back that I have forgotten to mention. My pony has such a good mind about him and handles so much with no problem, but this just clearly shows it. If you've been following the posts on my blogs for any amount of time and seen how far we've come, you might have an idea of what he's like to deal with. Those who have met him in person, can attest to his willing and honest personality. This was one of those moments however, that leaves you just shaking your head and smiling, proud of your equine partner in so many ways.

Since moving the horses, Kat has had a sort of makeshift shade on his stall. It consists of some poles, clips and tarps as long as they last. Now we have all seen the different trainers and clinicians working with horses to overcome their fear of tarps, getting the horse to step on them, then walk over them, allow the tarp to be draped on them and for the horse to accept the tarp calmly without fuss. My little Katman could make them all look like fools.

Kat has always had an easygoing nature about him. He takes things in stride and doesn't often get spooked by things. Certainly not to the point of bolting and taking off or anything. Sure he will stop and look at things he's not too sure about, but he doesn't let it freak him out to the point of going crazy over stuff.

The tarp I had over Aruba's pen was moved to be used as a shade over Kat's pen after I moved panels around, reconfigured things and changed it all up to where the mares shared a shade. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. The tarp was getting to be in sorry shape from the sun beating down on it and the wind blowing it around. It needed to be replaced so I started to take it down. Kat was still in the stall and as the tarp came down, it covered him completely. He was standing up against the rail and the tarp was draped over him and it both.

He never moved. Instead he just stood there, calm and still as could be, unfazed in the least. I went around to the back of the stall on the outside and started to pull the tarp out and off of my pony. Still he stood there without moving. No excitement, no wild eyed looks, just sighed at me as if to say- whatever...

I did pull him out of the stall while I put a new tarp up. He was tied to the rail along the front so he could munch on the grass under his little tree. The whole time I was moving the tarp, unfolding it, spreading it out, tying it up and doing things a good number of horses may be bothered by, Kat just munched on the grass and looked up at me standing on the rails without so much as a care. Any wonder why I have never been disappointed with him?