Sunday, November 5, 2023

Fall Rocking Horse Recap: Dressage and stadium

I think I've finally got the system down for getting to and from Rocking Horse. Ben stayed at home both nights, and we just hauled back and forth. Ben isn't a great traveler, but he's also not great at stabling solo. And honestly, packing all of our stuff for stabling takes wayyyy longer. Although really it's just extra food and clothes, but I guess I pack for local shows so much that it takes a lot more thought to make sure I have everything for both of us sleeping and eating away from home. Staying at JT's takes 30 minutes off the drive each direction, but I still have to pack everything and then pay for board at her farm. 

Saturday I did dressage at 1130, which was delightful for two reasons. First, I worked until 2am (although dipped out at 1230 thankfully) so the extra sleep was much appreciated. Second, when I pulled in at 945, it was spitting rain and 60 degrees. Gross. Definitely hadn't packed a rain coat either. By the time I rode it was clear and breezy and beautiful. 

Dressage was really pretty nice. We could've shown a bit more on the stretchy circle and on the free walk. But overall I was quite pleased. The judge, as per usual, hated his tongue. She suggested I do something about it. As though it hasn't occurred to me to try anything different. I just have to laugh at this point. Judges really want to love him, but uniformly can't look past it. Like they're suggesting I strap his mouth shut so tight he can't open it? We've tried that TBH and he's, shockingly, not as nice in the connection AND still gets his tongue out. And we've tried a LOT of bits and noseband options. The last thing I haven't tried is peanut butter on the roof of his mouth, suggested by Mr. GY last night. 

I do appreciate that the scribe decided to abbreviate tongue out. Work smarter not harder! It was still good enough for a 34.4 and 7th/13. 

Stadium looked like a fun course. JT said to ride it all like related distances, otherwise you'd end up napping in a corner. So one bending line to the next. He got a quiet spot to 2 and then I pushed again for the 5 instead of sitting up and supporting the 6. It's a hard balance between GOING and getting it done vs seeing that we aren't going to get it done and sitting up and putting leg on and letting him be clever for the short distance. Same type of hard rail we had at Majestic, the kind of knock it out and send it flying, not just a light tap. I didn't ride 9 the way JT recommended and ended up angled a bit back at 4 which he found confusing, but we got ourselves straightened up and finished the oxer at 10 just fine. Overall though, we flowed, we did one in the one and two in the two. And he was jumping beautifully before AND after we plowed the one rail. 

I could tell JT had ridden him recently, if I asked him for the gappy spot, he went for it gamely. Good boy. Training rides are so good for him. I did put in the calming acupuncture points when we arrived that morning, and he felt calm and happy for both dressage and stadium. Dressage is no surprise, he really likes their rings and we're both comfy there. However, stadium was less of a sure thing; he has most definitely gone into that ring and spooked at the banners before, so it was really, really nice to have a relaxed and happy round. He felt good and confident and distinctly not anxious. 

Some video screenshots for the time being

He is just stunning



  1. you guys look incredible over the swedish!! esp after his silly little spook on the way there LOL. congrats on a solid round, and another useful data point on the acupuncture-for-anxiety possible solution. i wonder if there are acupuncture points for his tongue haha ;P

    1. Thank you!! The pro pic from that jump is one of my new favorites. Sharing soon. Interesting thought on the acupuncture for his tongue - we've tried chiropracting his hyoid apparatus to prevent it and that changed nothing lol. But anything is worth a try!