Dressage -Some Like it Hot!

And, it was hot!  Just got back from Scottsdale, Arizona for the Arabian/Half-Arabian Region 7 Championships and pre-show, ASHO4U.  Temperatures ranged from 105 degrees when we first arrived, to mild mid-seventies when we woke up to thunderstorms and rain one day.  But, don’t worry, the thermometer in Arizona always rises!  We finished out the week in the mid to high nineties, once again.

DSC_0048Chaco and I made our first foray into Training Level at this show.

The purpose in Training Level  is to “Confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit.”

He was a good boy and did his best as I struggled to steer him at the canter.  Because of show jitters, I was a bit too tight in my body, but once I relaxed, we eased into our transitions.  That is usually the case – the rider is doing something to make the horse ask “What the …. are you doing up there?”  When I’m good, Chaco’s good.  Overall I was pleased with our performance.  The best thing about showing is, when you go home you know what you need to work on.  It’s always a challenge.

Handsome and I are wading in to new waters as well.  We are fine-tuning in First Level and starting to work in Second Level.  In First Level the purpose is to “Confirm that the horse, in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and thoroughness and to maintain a more consistent contact with the bit.”  You learn to extend your horses gaits and also to move him off your leg in a flowing leg yield.

In Second Level, the purpose is to “Confirm that the horse , having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium gaits; and is reliably on the bit.  A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, thoroughness, balance and self-carriage is required than First Level.”  You learn to isolate the shoulders and hindquarters of your horse to perform the movements, “Shoulder In” (just like it sounds), Turn on the haunches (just like it sounds) “Travers” (the forehand proceeds straight up the long side with the hindquarters bent to the inside,)  and “Renvers” (the forehand travels parallel to the wall  with the hindquarters bent to the outside, toward the rail.)  Sound complicated?  It is!  And we have a long way to go in Second Level, but we managed to receive Top 5 in both Levels in the Championships.  My “bestie” Handsome is a hard and willing worker!