Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Reality Show

No, I don't mean the Kardashians, I mean the difference between my 2015 dressage goals and where I have actually ended up.  My goal for 2015 was to re-do the Rider Test at 1st Level on video with a bit more polish and better lengthens and get a working version of the Rider Test at 2nd on video.  Nope, neither got done and I have been wondering why I don't feel a bit more disappointed.  I am normally a very goal driven person and get a bit angry when things don't go my way.  Why am I ok with not meeting my goals this year when I've been riding a lot and really putting effort and planning into my rides?

After much thought, I think the answer is that Jet and I have made huge progress but all the pieces are still not quite in place.  I feel like I ride so much more effectively and Jet goes so much more correctly but a couple of things are still missing to make the 1st Level Test complete.  The Second Level test could be put on video but it would be quite rough.  Why bother until we can have a good possibility of doing things well?  I guess in this year somewhere I've gone from thinking 60% on a test is pretty good, to why bother with videoing the complete test until we are doing 7's on most of the individual movements.  We are very close to being there on the 1st Level Test with much better lengthens and really the only sticking point is a better canter serpentine.  The Second Level Test is a different story at a solid 50% right now and needs months of work on lots of individual movements to approach 70%. 

I am ok with that though, and I think the reason why is that I understand the individual building blocks that make up the move from Training to First to Second much better.  How the horse needs to be straight, with power coming over the back to the bit and then waiting under the rider's seat for the beginnings of collection.  We might not have the Second Level Test dialed in at ALL but a lot of the components are coming along nicely.  We are not just sort of faking our way through the First Level Test but truly doing most of the movements correctly.  Jet feels like a different horse.  Able to wait just from my seat in all three gaits.  In an uphill balance when asked but also able to stretch down and out at any time.  We have a true trot lengthen.  Walk canter walk has become easy.  Many, many things still to work on but I am thinking much more about the components that make up the test and making them better, rather than figuring out how to hide the things that aren't quite right just to put a full test in on video.  Hopefully, this will lead to a couple of polished tests in 2016!


  1. Your progress this year sounds like something to be proud of for sure! (so jealous of easy walk-canter-walk!) I know the feeling of a 'different horse' - isn't it amazing?! :) I have been starting a green horse this summer and even though there is so far to go to get most of First Level, building it all from the start, piece by piece is so rewarding! Good luck to you in the New Year!

  2. Thank you Wendy! Good luck to you as well in the New Year!