Monday, June 29, 2009

You Learn a lot from Reading a Dressage Test

The kind folks at Groton House were very nice to mail me my dressage test from last week. The test had not been ready by the time we were ready to leave that day, it had been a long day in the pouring rain and so I decided not to make everyone sit around wait for it -- I didn't want to stick around any longer that day either! So I was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox the other day.

Over all, I've found it pretty enlightening, I was happy to see in the Collective Marks section that I received an overall "7" for "Rider". Not sure how well-deserved it is, but it feels good anyway. "Gaits" also earned us an overall "7". "Submission" was "6" -- there had been some bad moments of spooking and also some resistance resulting from the spooking, so I can't say that's too much of a surprise. For "Impulsion" we scored a disappointing "5". Although we do, on some days, have trouble with impulsion at home (it really does seem to vary with the day though), I think that I can honestly say that any lack of impulsion on the day of the event was completely my fault. Because of the spooking and other behavior in the warm-up, I think I was far too restrictive about allowing Ruby to move forward in the test. I guess I really do need to be braver. Yes, braver in Dressage. It is very educational to read it all though, seeing the summation in words really made me think back to the day and the test and clarify the general impressions after all the dust has settled, so to speak.

Among the individual marks there are some very good comments and notes that make it very clear where things improved or where they disintegrated. I think the most amazing bit to me was earning a "7" for our left lead canter transition. My mouth literally dropped open on that one, our canter transitions are usually our WORST part. Of course we made up for the "7" by scoring a "3" for our right lead canter transition -- HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Now that did not surprise me.

Altogether I have found that reading the judge's notes on the test to be very helpful, enlightening and even a bit inspiring. I hope that I can keep them in mind while schooling and the next time we ride a dressage test.

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