On Sunday Birdie and I were entered in a dressage schooling show at Exalt Farm in Harwood, Maryland. Our ride times were early, so I had to get up at 3 am again to feed and make sure he had time to eat. I wanted to leave by 6:15, so we'd have plenty of time to warm up. Krysta, a wonderful volunteer who aspires to event one day, showed up to help me and read my tests for me. I can't tell you what a help she is. I did have a chance to practice braiding the Bird and they turned out really nice. When we got there he was unusually relaxed. This seems to be a new trend, which I think is the beginning of his dressage metamorphosis. I was able to longe him before getting on him and things were going rather smoothly. Some other horses showed up to warm up and he did become a bit more tense. As we headed down to the arena for our first test, he became the very uptight, which came as no surprise. I stayed as relaxed as possible. This test was only a walk/trot and I was grateful. It wasn't that bad though. The judge was positive and gave me a lot of "tactfully ridden" marks. She seemed to understand what I was riding. We had a half hour until the next test, which was Training Level 1. I opted to work on long, low walking for relaxation. This must have been the right thing to do because he did the best test of his life. His canter was extraordinary and the transitions were wonderful. He even walked across the diagonal - not free walk, but at least it wasn't a jig. There were some uptight moments, but overall it was great. Birdie won his first dressage class. I can't express what this means to me. I know we still have a long way to go, but we're going!
On Laying Down The Foundation in Dressage
6 years ago