Monday, May 5, 2008

Entering the dressage world in style

Yes I am an Eventer and most are known for their hatred of dressage, but I on the other hand happen to love dressage. Yes, I said it, "I Love Dressage!". It is so cool to look at the transformations of rider and horse over a period of time.

My biggest change came this winter from working with Lena and Jenny Warner and Brad Cutshall.

Hannah has always had her flying lead changes, but they weren't great. She could throw herself onto the other lead when needed to in jumping but I hadn't really schooled them, or at that schooled them correctly for the flat. This winter we started working more on her canter half pass and lead changes and keeping her more steady in the bridle and working from behind. As the winter progressed so did we as a team. Not only did she become more agile and began accepting the bridle and using her hindend more, but I developed a better seat, allowing me to actually feel when she was using her back instead of just making it look like she was using her back. I began to understand more and more of what dressage really is.

I entered her in Otter Creek's first dressage show of the year, the Otter Creek May Flower. I put her in Second Level-3 and Third Level-1. On Saturday I received a 61.62% on my Second Level-3 earning 1st Place and a 63.59 on my Third Level-1 also earning 1st Place! What a great first day of my first REAL dressage show with Hannah. Day two I entered the same two classes. Second Level-3 I received a 60% earning 1st place and my Thirs Level-1 I also got a 60% earning 2nd place.

My goal is to get my Bronze Rider Medal this year in dressage and work on moving Hannah up to Fourth Level for next year. Of course my main focus is eventing, but having the dressage shows on the side is a great tune up for the eventing game too.

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