Friday, September 30, 2011

Competition ~ Dressage Test Preparatory 2

Our competition last Sunday ~ with me on “Casablanca” ~ i.e. Copper

I am sure that you can all tell by watching the video that we bombed ~ Copper was tense almost all the way through the test, so we didn’t score very well at all: 55.88%.  Blech. 

Looking back, I think there were a variety of reasons why but I am still disappointed with how we did because I know he is so much better than that!

Anyway, to start off the day was really windy, so he was spooking because of that, but more than that I think it’s his racing background.  I think it’s going to take me a while to train him out that.  It’s only the third dressage test we have done and he is not yet used to going out and relaxing in strange places. 

After all, for three or four years of his life, whenever he floated anywhere, he got off the truck, raced around like a manic on the track, and then went home again.  That is pretty strong conditioning for a horse, and I think that I have not yet taken Copper out enough to train him out of that ‘race’ mentality that so many ex-racers, be they Thoroughbred or Standardbred, have. 

As far as I can see I have two choices from here when dealing with Copper at competitions ~ one; get him to the venue three hours before the test {allowing three hours to get up, catch and load the horse and float there}; ride him hard for 1.5/2 hours, let him cool down for half an hour than warm up again 20 minutes before the test.  That was my riding instructor’s suggestion, as she used to do that for her horse.  

But seriously ~ that would mean a 3:30AM start for a 9:30am test which I just cannot. do.  I have a small baby and a husband that would seriously object!!  Plus, I can’t even begin to imagine loading Copper in the dark and really, would the gates even be open at that time??? 

I much prefer my idea which is to take Copper out to busy/big competitions as often as I can but not compete.  I’d just float him out there, tack up, ride him around at a walk, and take him home again.  Then he would probably get bored with going out and that’s exactly what I want him to do!!

The only problem with my idea is that I have access to a float, but no car. Yay.  So I guess I am sort of stuck trying to merge both ideas together for the time being.  At the very least I need to give Copper more time to warm up, probably an hour or maybe more ~ and we’ll see how we go from there… 

My main aim at any competition will now be to try and get him to relax.  I want him to be practically falling asleep!  Then we might be able to produce the kind of dressage we are doing at home.  Maybe. 

See ya!


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