I had hopes to place in this test with how Pea's schooling had been going lately. He warmed up nicely, and even when a little drama happened (someone's horse got spooked by the speaker and bronked the rider off before swiftly leaving) Pea was as calm as anything. In the test he rode nicely. There are still the odd bits that need working on but he is improving all the time and such a change from how he used to be! In fact, the transitions to walk for a stride and then trotting again and walk transitions were our worst as Pea now decides he'd rather keep trotting, something that before was unknown! We did get a few 8's, which is a bonus! The judges comments were: "Well done - nice pony. Accurate test for the most part, needs a little more hand/leg contact to bring frame together. Pleasing test with good rhythm and use of arena." I'm so proud of how far this little guy has come over the past year especially and we scored 61.3% coming 3rd so I was extra happy :) A video of the test can be viewed here.
I wasn't expecting a great deal for this test after our recent canter issues. However, the two days prior to the competition I felt that his canter had slowly been coming along, though I don't think Pea agreed. In the warm-up, I used the outdoor arena as it was quieter so I thought he would canter better, however he decided to buck his way down the long side cantering and then rush off in trot...on both reins. I decided not to push too much because knowing what he's like he gets quite worked up with canter so I popped back indoors and worked on getting him back to me and listening before we went in. He started the test reasonably well, especially seeing as the test was in a 20x60m arena so aiming to stay straight down the very long centre line was a bit nerving but somehow we managed it getting the comment "good entry, straight and good turn at C (7)" so at least we got a good start. Once we hit canter it all went a bit downhill. I thought we'd be okay as it's canter in the corner, 20m circle, then along the diagonal so very little canter, but apparently Pea didn't like that. He bucked into canter, did half a circle before promptly stopping and reversing along a diagonal. Once he calmed down and we got moving again, we went back to finishing the circle in trot then attempting canter along the diagonal but getting the wrong lead. The second canter follows straight away and it went better...our circle was more like 15m than 20m and we lost some impulsion along the diagonal but hey ho! The rest of the test then went a bit messy as he was running off and not listening as much but we'll get there! The judges comments were: "well done, started well but went downhill after canter transition. good try but Paddy just didn't want to play along today!" Surprisingly he got 52.1% which is better than last time considering he added in his own movement and although we came last, the person who went after us got 52,6% so we weren't that far off! There's a video here.
Now it's back to schooling at home to try and work on this canter. I am hoping to keep getting him out though as I'm not a defeatist and I know he'll get there soon. Patience is key!
Thanks for reading!
Laura & Pea x