Thursday, 11 January 2018

Thursday Nights

My current favorite night of the week!

Due to me working away Mon-Wed, Thursdays are my first night back in my barn week.

This time of year, that means mucking and filling buckets  in the dark, which is pretty much novice level stuff for us horse girls. Grooming and tacking up is a bit tricker, definitely more intermediate level skills required!

My little battery powered headlamp has been proving invaluable! Definitely recommend if you're at the barn or riding in the dark on a regular basis.


Luckily, the actual riding part of my Thursdays is not so difficult, thanks to a nice, well lit indoor a 15min hack down the road.  I'm still looking forward to the longer days and some kinder weather, though. Tonight's freezing rain was a little too refreshing, unless you're in to the whole being pressure washed with ice pellets thing :)


Since it's pretty much a guarantee that Midge will have a ton of energy and also that we'll be the only ones out and about and we'll have the place to ourselves, Thursday nights are the perfect nights to practice dressage tests.

I'm trying out some different things. EC is not big on running through tests, or even schooling parts of tests. Individual movements, sometimes. At most, we'll run through a test once a few days before hand. I'm not sure if that's just how she is, or more a reflection of the level I ride at (ie its not overly complicated). She's way more about giving you the tools to train and ride and understand the concepts of the level...much less about giving you tips on actual test riding!


I'm a bit different. I like to feel prepared. I like to know how the test is going to ride, how the pieces fit together. I feel like I am not an overly quick-thinking rider, so it's good for me to practice tests and to prepare and make things happen where they're supposed to. This might be a little "out there" but I think Midge, too, benefits from knowing the tests before hand. As we know, she can be on the lazy side, and is also not the sharpest thinking pony. So, if she knows there's a canter transition coming at C, she doesn't get silly about it, she's just prepared and ready (instead of her still too frequent "Wait! What?...we're doing that NOW?!" response). The only part I do fudge is the down transitions...I never let her know where those are actually located and always ride past them or add a circle first. (please let 2018 be the year she finally doesn't burn me even once by breaking to trot a stride or two early in a test!) And of course, I reserve the right to circle and redo pretty much anything I'm not happy with.

Our test of the last couple of Thursday nights has been 1-1. Like I said, nothing complicated or earth shattering there. It's taken us this long because 15m canter circles weren't a pretty thing last spring. I feel like it's a very good test for us to ride, all those transitions within the gait, and half circles and changes of direction keep her forward but also are a nice way of getting her to use her inside hind and sit a little more without making a big deal of it. I'm happy with it, my only wish would be for it to be a little smoother...there's always at least one point where she gets a little stuck or a bit too forward and the rhythm is lost temporarily.

Next week, we're going to go back to 1-2. I'm looking forward to it! We've got 1-3 to practice as well because I'll need to tackle that at our June show (stupid "must ride the highest test of the level in at least one class" requirements ;) ...those counter canter loops are still tricky for us and something I work a little on every single ride.

16 comments:

  1. I have that same headlamp :) A must-have!!

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    1. My husbands work buys them and encourages employees to take safety gear for home, luckily for me these great little headlamps are part of that program!

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  2. I need to get that headlamp! I like practicing the tests too- it helps me get a feel for the flow. Sometimes I will practice all of it but mostly just pieces of it.

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    1. Im not sure if theyre all the same but this one has multiple light settings - even a red one. It's also REALLY bright on full setting!

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  3. i dont practice the tests but do them in sections too so its not ever something Remus anticipates (yes the downward transitions once they know they are coming UGH). Love that you are still getting out and doing stuff even after being away for three days. You are an inspiration. :) Great headlamp!

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    1. Once I'm confident I know the test I'll often mix in pieces of other tests where the down transitions happen, just to keep her guessing a little.

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  4. I'm not familiar with Dressage tests but I feel like if I did ride one I would be like you. I'm notoriously bad at memorization, I feel like my brain can only hold so many things at one time. So I would want to run through the tests in it's entirety probably very frequently.

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    1. Especially when I get tired or nervous (like at shows!) my memory stinks, so its good if I really know the tests inside and out. I'm also not great at intuitively knowing my left from my right, so, basically my show test pattern remembering IQ is very, very low, lol

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  5. i generally don't really run through full tests much myself (mostly for similar reasons you wrote above - my current level isn't exactly very complicated) but i *do* find it useful to do at least once or twice, esp bc sometimes the way a thing looks on paper doesn't really match how it rides in reality. and sometimes one movement can be pretty majorly influenced by how something 3-4 movements back rode. i like the concept of "tours" that you see describing upper level tests, bc that helps me better understand how tests flow together. so maybe it's not the whole test at a time, but stringing a number of pieces together at once. idk. dressage is hard, yo. awesome that you're finding so much benefit from practicing!! i look forward to the day when charlie can tackle any of the first level tests haha

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    1. Once the tests get a little more complicated, you bet I'll be stringing together "tours" on the regular. I'm envious of my coach, her timing and training skills are such that she's basically "well, I've taught Audrey flying changes, so no big deal to string some together in tempis in a test" I'll be like "Bridget, we are practicing this line for the next 6 years!!"

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  6. My dressage trainer is a little different. Usually leading up to an event we'll run through the test once and then spend the rest of the lesson working on the weakest parts. I don't usually go through tests any other time, though, as P memorizes them.

    And yes to headlamps! Lifesavers!

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    1. I like that! Mine is much more about the bigger, long term picture and goals, which is nice, but as someone who hasn't done a ton of showing, I find I need to practice the pattern.

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  7. I could kiss the inventor of the head lamp. I use mine all the time in the winter! :)

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    1. Yeah, right now I'm wondering why flashlights are even a thing...why are headlamps not the more popular option?

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  8. Replies
    1. I have no clue how I survived for so long without one!

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