Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tiamo's Butt!

So his coat looks kind of light here, but it's still quite dark in person! Or maybe I'm just convincing myself of that because I love when he is black during the winter! The infinity symbol was chosen for no particular reason. I remembered that one of my favorite singers, Adam Lambert, has infinity and a Eye of Horus as tattoos. I think he said in an interview one time that the infinity sign symbolizes the infinite connection and energy exchange between him and the audience. I'm not sure how that applies to us, but we thought it would look cool!

Team Challenge/Octoberfest/Winter Plans

A few weeks ago we competed at Team Challenge, and I was very happy to have gotten in because I was on the waiting list until a week before. I was put on an Area VIII Novice YR team even though I'm not officially a YR yet. I plan on joining next year!

I decided to leave Tiamo at Dorothy's the week between fall break and Team Challenge. I had an 8:11 dressage time Saturday, but I decided to spend the night at Dorothy's and have Tiamo ride over there early Saturday morning (versus him being taken over Friday morning, dropped off at the stall, and being left there until late in the afternoon when I could get there). Unfortunately, and due to some miscommunication on my part, I was already running late when Dorothy arrived with Tiamo and parked by the old indoor. All my stuff was at my stall, and, originally, I was going to walk Tiamo over there to tack up. My dad appeared very briefly to help, but then he left to get my mom and sister from the hotel. I was on my own and trying to stay calm. I ended up having Lauren's mom drive me over to my stall to grab my tack, coat, brushes, etc, and Dorothy tacked Ti up at the trailer while I got ready.

It was very cold! It was around 35, and my feet and hands were especially numb. I had also been outside since 4am by that point. I was feeling kind of stiff! Since I was running late, I only had about 15-20 minutes to warm up. He was actually going quite nicely in the warm up, but when I got to the outside of the ring, he kind of wanted to start carting me around a bit. I was trying to ride well, and the test didn't feel awful by any means. It just wasn't nearly as good as our work at home. I figured I would score in the mid to high 30s.

I had not walked my course for show jumping so I headed over to the ring after I untacked. I always have to spend some extra time with show jumping courses so I remember them! I walked it twice and went over it in my mind several times. By the time I got back to the stall, I was somewhat aware that I was running late, but I thought I still had plenty of time. Upon arriving at warm up, the ring steward told me I was the next rider to go. I'm lucky that I have such a forgiving horse, and it was barely an hour after dressage because I only jumped the vertical and the oxer (which was terrible) before going in the ring. Usually he starts feeling excited at the gate, but I think he was confused with the whole situation! Our ride was better at the beginning than the end, but I think it was quite good considering the circumstances.

While walking my cross country course, Lauren told me I had gotten a 46 in dressage. I had her double check, and then I also looked because I was so confused about such an awful score! A 46 is very embarrassing, especially on Tiamo! Later, I watched the video and understood my score better, but I still think it was harsh. Dorothy said it was more like an upper 30s-40 kind of test.

In both instances, I put myself at a disadvantage because of my disorganization, and my performances, especially dressage, reflected that!

Cross country on Sunday made up for the rest of the weekend! I think it was one of my best rounds with him. Dorothy has helped me a lot already! We went at 8:15, and he was feeling kind of frisky in warm up which was funny. Anyway, I just let him go his own speed in between fences, but he had to hold up the other end of the bargain and come back again for the fences. Sometimes the preparation involved a few good tugs even though I was trying to be more subtle and soft about it. Of course my goal is to make the transitions back much smoother and with less hand. Dorothy also told me to circle if I needed to get him listening again. I did circle in two different spots: at the jump before the drop and the roll top before the water. I'm still confident in that decision. I needed time to slow a bit and get organized. Even with the circles, we still had one of the fastest times because the speed was only 350 or 375mpm.

The next weekend we went to Octoberfest and did USDF Training Test 2 and 3. Dorothy judged us, and her husband John warmed us up! Both tests were huge improvements over my Team Challenge test. His free walk is super great now! We should start getting at least 7s and probably even 8s or 9s on it next season! There is so much more time in the 20x60 long arenas, especially with the fairly simply Training tests. So much time to think!  I actually left the show without getting my tests, but Dorothy scored me an 84% on one of them! And both tests had errors! (In Training 2, I forgot the first salute and got -2. In Training 3, I did a transition too early in the second test, but she gave me a 4 instead of an error). Apparently, she thought it was an extremely good test but didn't mean to score me quite that well. I think she should judge me more often!

As far as winter plans go, Ti is getting a few days off when I go home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, but he'll be coming home for Christmas. I'm possibly going to Dorothy's during my 1st week of Christmas break, Soon she will be gone until March 1st so it would be good to get some lessons in before that! January and February are probably going to be a bit rough, and the tentative plan is ride at least 3x a week to keep us both moving.

Also, Lauren came down and body clipped Tiamo for me today! We initially attempted to clip in (clip out?) Grumpy from the 7 Dwarves on his butt. It wasn't working so we clipped it off and did a T with an infinity symbol in the middle instead. It looks pretty good, and his coat is still very dark!