Monday, March 19, 2012

Good Show

Delphi and I showed at Windy Knoll Farm spring dressage shows I and II this weekend March 16-18, 2012.

What did I learn from this show? Arriving on the showgrounds the day before the show is extremely helpful as Delphi and I were able to school with our adjunct trainer Lurena Bell in the actual competition arenas which gave us time to focus and relax. Delphi improves as the day goes on, but only if I am careful not to overtax her especially on the final day of the show. Giving Delphi a "mercy lunge" for just a few minutes very early in the morning helps her to relax both days of the show. Having a trainer to direct our warm up and otherwise coach us at the show is indispensable. Finally, using my seat and body in a swinging, relaxed way especially in transitions allows Delphi to stay relaxed.

Five positive things that went well at this show:
1) Delphi and I made our individual and collective debuts at third level at a recognized show.
2) We were able to work through much tension to achieve calmness and relaxation, even in the face of over a week's worth of stall rest secondary to wet weather and no riding secondary to some swelling in one of Delphi's legs.
3) Delphi remained calm and navigable before, during and after all her flying changes.
4) We gained show mileage and learned a lot about show strategy, especially warm-up and relaxation tactics.
5) Even in the midst of raging stallions, uncontrolled rogue horses, lunge whips cracking almost directly in her face, strange dogs in strollers, and myriad other wind-flapping distractions, Delphi remained extremely obedient and safe all weekend.