Countdown to First: Things To Remember
|Hoping for lots of this in the show ring...|
It's a schooling show, and my main goal is not to embarrass us while simultaneously squeaking out a 60% at this level, which I haven't showed at since college back when you had to sit the trot at First.
Needless to say, it's been a while.
But I think that First 1 will be a generally good test for us, except for the stretchy circle coming up so early in the test. I'm not sure Dino will be as eager to stretch down at that point as he is later on in a test, so that movement will take some riding on my part. I do like how much more rapid-fire the movements are vs. the Training Level tests, and I think it will keep Dino's attention much better than straight lines and 20m circles. He's been doing a great job at the lengthenings, and the canter departs at the letters have been spot-on. First 2 is a little more challenging for us, but I think the trot lengthenings right off the bat will help get the motor running right in the beginning of the test.
If I can just remember these few things, we'll be just fine:
-I need to not get so frantic about completing the test that I forget to help Dino keep stretching over his topline and relaxing. Lots of deep breathing and reminders to allow myself to relax will help here, as well as focusing on stretching in the warm up.
-Keeping my hands UP and FORWARD - especially during transitions - has made the difference between Dino getting braced and hollow and staying on the bit.
-Holding the left side of my body UP and OPEN makes left bend actually happen.
-Half halts. Those are a thing. They help.
My riding plan for the rest of the week includes a day off today while I run another 5k (#3 for the season!) and lots of relaxed, stretchy flatwork on Thursday and Friday, likely followed up by a light lunging session in the chambon on Saturday to really get Dino loose and feeling good about himself. Sunday is show day, and while I hope we won't have to rest on the merits of the cute new outfit I have on order, if we totally bomb both tests at least we'll look good doing it!