Well, after a week of being depressed, I decided to school Hattie one last time yesterday afternoon to do any last preparations for our test today. Hattie was really good and working on a soft contact and in an nice outline. After packing my saddle up with foam stuff, it felt level so just schooled for 10 minutes before calling it quits so we'd end on a good note.
I think we us, short and sweet will have to be our catchphrase with schooling to be no longer than 20 minutes. Hopefully, I can start to afford a once a month side saddle lesson again next month just to start whipping us back into form again and hopefully will be able to practice more in the week if I can get my son into some sort of after-school program.
Then at the show today, we did a short 10 minute schooling session in the warm up arena and just walked around it after that to relax. My saddle didn't feel right afterwards though as even though I put the foam padding between the panels, it packed down at the left side of Hattie's withers so I felt like I was rolling to the left slightly and had to battle to keep my right shoulder back which in turn, was causing me to raise my left shoulder and sit crooked.
We did our test and we did ok but Hattie wasn't really listening to me and the nice elastic contact we had yesterday and in the warm up, went out of the window. She kept falling in and our circles were bizarre shaped. I was trying to sit up straight to keep us all balanced but I felt like I was going to slide off the left side of the saddle so I wasn't much help!!!
It was windy today and there was some stupid yappy dog that kept barking during my test (and only my test) and Hattie kept paying attention to that stupid thing and not me! I love dogs but I could have drop-kicked that dog to the the moon for yapping during my test. Dogs do not belong at dressage tests. I don't bring my dog to horse shows as she would be a nuisance to everyone around so why can't other people repay the same courtesy?
Thankfully I have a good horse that knows what she is doing so we got through the test without mishap and with a decent score of 61.7% with lots of 6's and 7's (only two 5's).
Our comments were all what I expected and our collective comment was:
"A consistent test- well done. Some marks lost today due to falling in and against the hand (I felt this when I was riding), which was a shame. Better marks with improved self carriage, Well done."
Hattie was going well in our schooling yesterday and before the test so I need to keep working that regularly and in short spurts so hopefully by our next test, she will be more elastic in my hand. The improved self carriage will also come when I'm sitting more balanced and not sliding off the saddle so Hattie can get on with her job!
I recognized the judges name, Lili Brooksby and Googled her and realized that I had seen her ride side saddle on her horse, Silver Mercedes, before at shows and also have seen her name on the Side Saddle Association Area 12 results lists!
Finally a judge that understood side saddle and she teaches side saddle and dressage too! Often at the stable (where the shows are held) down the lane from me too!!
There are photos of her and me riding in our side saddle costumes at the 2009 Hinckley Dressage Christmas show.
I think I may have to contact her as I need help in both disciplines!
Unfortunately, there was a couple of us that had scores of 61.7% and although usually they will give a joint placing (I would have tied for 6th place out of 15 competitors), the show officials decided not to give joint placings today and work out our scores using the collective marks (or something like that, they lost me when it was being explained). I ended up missing out on 6th place by 1 mark and lost to 13 year old Josie who also rode Hattie (not side saddle) and also got 61.7%!
She got a 7 mark for rider position and I got a 6 for mine due to me riding crooked. Probably a normal judge wouldn't have noticed BUT I was under the critical eye of a side saddle judge. I need to shape up!
Josie rode Hattie REALLY well and it was her first ever dressage test so although it's hilarious I got beat by my own horse and my own "stable kid", at least I didn't lose out by much. Although Josie and my husband will probably NEVER EVER let me live it down!
LOL, I got whooped good today!
I was surfing on Ebay tonight trying to treat myself to something because I missed out on being in the ribbons, and found a BARGOON!
A side saddle numnah for £3.99!
It looks to be homemade but for the price, I can sew shims on it to try and balance my saddle until the saddler can come out next month. It'll be my "7th place" prize ;-)