Rocky’s Dressage Debut…
On a cold but bright January morning, the 11th of Jan 2015 to be precise, Rocky and I made our Dressage Debut at Woodington Training Centre.
I entered Rocky for the Intro A class to introduce him to this thing called “Dressage”, but the main object of the day out was to build confidence and gain experience, so the Intro was ideal to begin his career.
One of my concerns was the warm up arena as working around other horses recently has been, well, exciting! Never in a nasty way, just a genuine excitement, so again, the warm-up was an ideal opportunity to “school” around others.
We have been doing our homework over the last week, hiring local arenas after work to school in and run through our little test, all of which paid dividends as when we got to the show Rocky simply had a look around and I could almost see him working out “oh right were doing “work” again today".Excellent!!
Woodington Training Centre is a super friendly, local venue which I have previously judged at, but not for a good 2 years. The warm up is a large arena with mirrors and surrounded by a glorious log home, jumps, judges boxes, fields with grazing horses etc so clearly a lot for a baby horse to look at!
Rocky however entered the arena and yes had a glance around, yet was honest and willing to get on with his “job”. At this point we were in the Warm-up on our own, other horses were around but not yet in the arena with us, but not for long, we were joined by some beautiful horses and ponies, all getting on with their jobs too, Rocky quietly working around them and although a little look was given every now and then, he was attentive and responsive.
As it was getting closer to our turn, we returned to the trailer to change jackets etc, at which point Rocky was watching the other horses doing their tests, almost in a “OK so this is what to do then” kind of way!
Our test time arrived and as the previous horse was leaving the arena the steward let us in and off we went. Name provided to the judge and a trot around the outside giving Rocky chance to take the white boards etc all in.
The bell sounded and a deep breath taken, our very first Centre Line was happening!
Rocky felt a little introvert throughout the test, behind the leg and a little unsure, however he responded to every request, and I firmly believe he tried his heart out for me. We had one slight miscommunication on the final Centre Line, all my fault as I was too late preparing him for the turn and we lost balance, he came against my aids and basically we fell around the turn!! Arghhhh stupid jockey!!! However we regained our balance and finished our first ever test.
I had a quick chat with the judge on our way out, as had most of the others, she was thrilled with him, then asked if he was about 6yrs, erm, no, he is still actually 3, but in his 4th year (which means he is now able to compete), at which point she almost fell off her chair as she honestly thought his attitude etc were outstanding for his tender age.
Rocky had his Nettex Tastytreat, then quietly stood munching his haynet and watching some of the other competitors while we awaited our score sheet.
We achieved 61.74% with better moments than others, (would have been better had I not have messed the final line up!!) with lots of positive comments, but this was immaterial, the whole idea of the outing was for gaining experience, and I feel Rocky had a very good experience which was vital.
So there we have it, our very first Dressage Competition was over, Rocky had exceeded all my expectations (yet again!) and behaved impeccably.
The diary is now out and our next outing planned....
Click HERE to view the test.