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Retraining a Racehorse – First Dressage Show
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   11th Aug 2011   •   5,851 views   •   10 comments
On the way to the dressage arena, he was rather excited by the unfamiliar atmosphere. He considered spooking at the dressage letters, but decided that watching them warily would work just as well – since I decided not to let him behave like a silly baby-horse.

Preparation For First Dressage ShowWe trotted up to the judges to show our number, then proceeded to trot around the outside of the arena back to ‘A’. I let Moony look around, and practiced getting him going around the outside of the arena the same way I wanted him to go inside it.

When our whistle blew, we entered at ‘A’ and trotted down the center line. Moony was very excited to be in the arena, but he behaved very well for a young horse, and held his frame nicely. At points he got a little overbent or tense in the neck, and on occasion he would resist and throw his head up – but the majority of his test was lovely. He displayed wonderful bend around the corners, and his canter was relatively well balanced and wonderfully rhythmic, although his head was a little unsteady, and his stride was rather long. He lost some balance on the circles, but I kept giving him half halts all the time, and feeling the outside rein every stride, jut to try to keep him together.

He struggled with the free walk, since he hadn’t completely learned to stretch his neck down yet. He would stretch it down, then toss his head, or break into a trot. So I loosened my reins, but kept slightly more of a contact than I usually would, and I didn’t ask for too much lengthening of the stride. I decided rather to ask for less, and get what I asked for – than to ask for more, and risk the chance of Moony learning that that ‘free walk’ in a dressage arena might include trotting or head-tossing.

He actually did his walks very nicely – nothing for the record books, but nothing to be ashamed of, either.

His transitions, especially into canter, were quite hollow, and he tended to be tense and tight in the neck for a few strides afterwards.

The only part if the test that I would consider ‘bad’, however, was his halt at the end. He resisted into it, threw up his head and pulled against my hands. I ignored him, and asked him to halt again. The next time he did, and although he was still hollow, and seemed very grumpy about having to stop – he stood nicely, and square.

I saluted the judge, then left the arena on a loose rein – giving the lovely Moo horse lots of pats.

Once the test was over, I spent a few quick moments strategizing with my instructor before heading toward the next arena to do my second test.

She told me that Moony’s tight neck and occasional tension during the test, especially in the transitions, was because I was trying to collect him into his frame, rather than ride him forward into it.

So, for the next test, I took up a softer contact, picked up the tempo, and pushed Moony forward the whole way. As my instructor had predicted, he was far more relaxed. His head became steadier, and he kept his neck nicely loose. His canter was still a little unbalanced at times, and his free walk still wasn’t perfect – but the rest of his test was wonderful.

Preparation For First Dressage Show

I took a few more walk strides into my halt in this one, and although he was still a little hollow, his halt was much better. He stayed calm and square while I saluted, and I was extremely pleased with his test.

Although the second test was much better – it was also far more difficult, and the judge was stricter – so as it worked out, Moony got a better result for his first test.

His result for the first test was 57%, which I consider to be absolutely brilliant for his first dressage show! Results over 60% tend to be rather rare, except in the best of dressage horses. Moony finished just out of the places, although it was very close.

The judge commented that he was an ‘attractive horse’, and that he has talent – so I hope to see more good results to come.

One more step on the ladder towards Moony’s eventing career...

Since this is an article about Moony, and not Bronze – I shall mention him only briefly. While Moo competed in the Preliminary class, Bronze competed in Novice – one level higher. He had recently had an abscess in his hoof, so he was feeling a little tender. As such, I gave him a short warm up – not wanting to push him on the hoof – then took him in. He performed two lovely tests, although he was starting to overbend at times. Still, he ended up finishing second – leaving my instructor and I both very chuffed with the big tank-horse.

It was a good show, and I hope we’ll have many more like it.
Horse News More In This Category:  Dressage      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
BME Sports  
Glad that you did good! :)
  Aug 11, 2011  •  4,685 views
 
Madeirey  
I WANT A POLO HORSEY TOO!!! LOL! And scores above 60% is pretty common... I usually get around 70% sometime higher sometimes a bit lower. And I had to train my pony by myself! (With my instructor of course) I guess maybe its different in SA?
  Aug 11, 2011  •  4,404 views
 
ImaCoolCowgirl  
I always enjoy your articles Polo!! Don't stop writting!! Love to hear about all your stunning fluffies!
  Aug 11, 2011  •  4,406 views
 
Stay Untamed  
I love your horses! These are good articles,thanks for posting them :)
  Aug 11, 2011  •  4,438 views
 
FreeRein  
Glad you did so well! Sounds like you are doing really well!
  Aug 12, 2011  •  4,405 views
 
All That Jazz  
He has such a gorgeous trot :)
  Aug 12, 2011  •  4,409 views
 
Prarie Rose  
Great job! Sounds like you all did great. :) Congrats.
  Aug 13, 2011  •  4,437 views
 
Carpe Diem  
Great article! Glad you did good! :)
  Aug 16, 2011  •  4,405 views
 
The Fire Of Heart  
Awesome Pics! and news
  Aug 24, 2011  •  4,432 views
 
The Fire Of Heart  
happy you did well :)
  Aug 26, 2011  •  4,432 views
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