I thought we’d start this recap off with ALL THE DRAMA (TM) or better known as “How I almost got disqualified at my very first event.” To do so, however, I need to back up and tell you what happened on my lesson the Wednesday before. *cue flashback music and fade out*
LT had us working on our dressage, naturally, and Gus was really not feeling it. He’s always been a little bit bridle sour when he’s annoyed but this was beyond that. Gus would not stop shaking his head and giraffing as we worked through our test. LT was standing at C like a judge and as we came by her and transitioned to a walk she cried “stop! He’s bleeding!” WHUT? Sure enough, the bridle had pinched him and he was bleeding from a little rub. Poor guy! No wonder he wasn’t happy. We figured it was a combination of me clipping him earlier in the week and the hardware from the crank so we moved the crank further up on his face and doctored up the cut. Thankfully, that seemed to do the trick and we had no more bleeding and Gus was happy to get back to work with only normal green horse connection issues. Crisis adverted.
So now fast forward to Friday at Sporting Days where we are using the arena for one quick dressage lesson. The rub is heeling up nicely and we are doing great work. Eric, aka Mr. Wonderful, brings me a bottle of Gatorade to chug as we take a quick break and says, “he’s bleeding again.” MOTHER !#$%&*. This time super trainer thinks that the bit is now rubbing where the scab was. We end warm up and decide to be very careful during our official warm-up the next day since Gus is clearly not in pain and is willing to work.
And I promise, it was not gushing or even dripping blood. Super trainer and I never would have pushed forward if we thought we were doing permanent injury or that Gus was in pain. This was a very minor rub that hit us at just the wrong week.
Will it shock you to hear that after just five minutes in warm-up the rub was bleeding again? No? Well, it was. So now we had a quick tack change to a bit that would not pinch or hit the rub and hope for the best. We also shortened what had been planned (and needed) 45 minute warm up to a handful of 20 meter circles and a canter transition in each direction. Thankfully Gus was on his A game for warm-up. It would have been helpful to get the right amount but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
Finally, after all that drama, I was able to enter the ring and trot down centerline. We rode a decent but a no-sparkle dressage test and our results showed it. I thought the judge was very fair though one of few words (seriously, one word comments on my test and almost nothing at the bottom…). We got mostly 6’s and 7’s which I think was very fair. We unfortunately got a 5 on our free walk, a double coefficient (ouch!), which kept the score from being better but did get a 7.5 for his gaits.
Gus’ greenness really showed in this test as he did still want to check out everything going on in the ring and I had to be a little tough in portions of the test. Still, that will come with more time and more chances in the ring. Overall, he was wonderful and that was the most steady test we’ve ridden yet. In the end the judge said we had “many lovely moments” and gave us a 34.30. A very decent score but one that sadly had us in 6th out of 7th. Oh well, what can you do? At least we were able to ride the test.
After all of that though, I was very happy to be through dressage. We looked good. We put in a solid test. Now it was time for the jumping.