Whelp, I’ve officially entered Tristan for a schooling dressage show on June 5. I skimmed the tests and picked Training 1 and Training 2 for…no real reason other than they’re sequential. It’s been so long since we’ve attempted a test all the way through that I have no really good sense of what will play to his strengths, and honestly sussing that out is not gonna happen before the entry deadline.
So, I’ve been looking more closely at Training 1.
1. Centerline, halt, turn left. Potential pitfalls: halting square, picking up the trot again without a tantrum, heading straight toward the judge’s box. Beginner Novice B, I MISS YOU AND YOUR BENDING LINE ENTRANCE.
2. Track left, circle in the center. Potential pitfalls: geometry. Bulging right shoulder. Staying in the arena.
3. Transition to canter, turn left. Potential pitfalls: crossing the entrance again; Tristan might see an easy way out. Also, our canter transitions are pretty much mired in suck right now. At least the left transition is as far away from the judge as it gets.
4/5. Canter circle in the center, back to trot. Potential pitfalls: Staying on the circle in the canter, especially left. Geometry. Staying in the ring.
6/7. Free walk across the diagonal. Potential pitfalls: picking the medium walk back up for F.
8/9. Trot transition, circle right in the center. Potential pitfalls: staying on the circle, a not-ugly transition at A.
10/11/12. Canter transition, circle in the center, trot transition. Potential pitfalls: as mentioned above, our canter transitions are ugh. Geometry always a concern in the canter. Timing the transition back to trot.
13. Centerline, halt, salute. Potential pitfalls: making the turn, keeping the centerline straight, getting the halt square.
The good news: this gives me some marching orders. In particular, those canter transitions. Fix them and we’ll nail down a lot of the other problems – especially the shoulder-flinging.
I’ve been working on the trot-walk-free walk and back again transitions for a little while now. Tris has a great free walk, mostly because he’s so relieved I let him do what he wants. The trick is keeping it marching – we’ve mostly got that, but it will be different in the other ring. I need to be more subtle and tactful about picking the reins back up, too.
In short: while I have no doubt we can get the basic test done, I need to polish some of the pieces. All of them are well within our capabilities. I wish I hadn’t hit a valley right when we need to be ramping up for this test, though.