Thursday, April 7, 2011

Poplar Place Recap

I originally wrote a recap a few days after Poplar Place, but I deleted it because it kept showing up as one huge paragraph. I'm way too OCD to keep that! So I'm just going to do a brief recap again.

Dressage- My dressage ring was originally in the arena that ended up having very, very deep sand footing. They moved it to the usual cross country warm up which was much better, but it did have some divets and slightly slippery footing, especially in the corners. We had an absolutely great warm up that was less than 20-25 minutes. Our test wasn't quite as good but still a very solid test. I could have prepared better for the corners and my transitions. I also got slightly sloppy about being accurate with the geometry. We got mostly 7s, a couple of 6s, and three 8s for a 32.2.

Stadium- My warm up was fairly good, but I let him be behind my leg at the beginning. Then the last few jumps were good. We were both relaxed, and he was even a bit on the lazy side. The first two fences were good, and then I started tipping with my shoulders. When I tip with my shoulders, he tends to start taking off earlier and landing stronger. I really tried to be a thinking rider, sit down and "lift and lighten him" like Allison says, but I wasn't getting it done. I ended up steering him around very sweeping turns and pulling too much so we ended up with 2 time penalties. I think I really need to focus and light a fire under myself to ride better than I have been. At the very least, I saw WAY scarier rides at Training although that's a terrible excuse, and I did have a better round than January Poplar.

Cross Country- I used a Gag instead of his normal Slow Twist Full Cheek. I really do not need that strong of a bit and plan on going back to the Full Cheek, but looking back, I don't regret using it because it made me let go of his face in between fences. I know I need to get out as much possible and practice pacing, and I have been doing this when the footing isn't super wet. Unfortunately, it has been very, very muddy and wet recently, but I've fit in a few 'gallops' in between that. Using the gag finally made me realize that I'm not going as fast as I think I am. I do think I could have been a little softer to and over the fence, but it was an enormous improvement over January Poplar. It was a pretty small, straightfoward course anyway, but he made it so easy! I felt like we were balanced up and down the hills, and there were some fairly steep ones on course. Many of the horses were stopping at the first fence as well as peaking at the Dog Cabin with cutout. I wasn't really expecting any issues in the first place, but he was very good. I'm really looking forward to seeing the CatchRide Video so I can see what it looked like!


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