Hippoi Athanatoi

The Verdict

Mixed results with my dressage test on Tuesday. I had a couple of things I wanted to focus on, and I managed with some of them, but not others. And a few things went rather worse than I had thought, but I somehow always manage to be overly optimistic in the middle of being nervous and pessimistic.

We started off with about half an hour of warm-up on our own, and I guess I didn’t use that time as efficiently as I could have. When 99% of your riding is done for an instructor, it can be really hard to be on your own. I tried to practice some of the things I knew would be troublesome, but while I managed to sort out a few potential problems (like making sure Murphy would continue to think forward even without a whip, since I don’t ride with spurs), I didn’t manage to do a very cohesive warm-up and I didn’t manage to get him really working before it was time for me to go in.

The good parts about the actual test was that I managed not to stress through it. I am often so focused on the next part (or, when jumping, on the next jump), that I constantly push forward. This leads to sloppy lines and to me doing too much with my legs, my hands and my upper body. For the most part, I stayed calm. I rode careful corners, and the only point where I got a little over-active was the canter circles. The rest of the canter I sat through quite calmly, though, and even the transitions too canter were calm. It definitely help that Murphy enjoys being alone in the arena and automatically is more forward-going.

The bad parts had a lot to do with the canter, though. Specifically, the canter circles and the half-turns in reverse at a canter. Murphy’s canter is not good. Its very hard to collect it without him dropping down to a trot without a lot of focused canter-work before hand, and I didn’t want to tire him out during the warm-up. So, the circles turned into gigantic ovals, and on the turns he was nowhere near the intended line. I really lost control over his outside, and I could certainly have demanded a bit more of him there. But my focus was elsewhere.

So, pleased that I didn’t rush it, but I have a long way to go in terms of making sure I can do more than one thing at a time.

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