Western Dressage…the humble beginnings

So, being the wonderful friend that she is, K is mostly easily persuaded to try new disciplines/types of shows if I make the slightest effort to twist her arm. She has shown western pleasure/speed classes, etc. at local shows extensively and does REALLY well with her gelding. So when I talked her into going to the APHA show in Lexington, she was more nervous than I was, but for no reason because they did really well and learned a lot. I was just oddly zen because I have the baby wonder horse (who will hopefully be baby wonder horse again in October because I’ll be sending in a ton of $ on futurity entries based on his behavior last year, so he better behave himself…). She was also riding and I was just leading Joey around, so I’m sure that played into the balance of nerves. ha. Anyway, she still ended up enjoying that show experience enough to maybe trust my opinion on what counts as a good time?

So, I’ve coerced K into trying western dressage with me! You may remember that I’ve mentioned wanting to try this for, you know, years, but I could never get enough people together to get lessons. Well, lolz, we still haven’t had lessons, but we’ve decided to haul to a local schooling show to see how we do in the Intro (walk/jog) level prior to lessons, just for fun (and to let our horses see the white railing) before we have expectations of our horses. Of course, when I originally envisioned trying any sort of dressage it was with Copper, but with him living the pasture puff life now that means Paige has to step it up.

But we’re riding pretty freaking broke horses in a walk/jog pattern. How hard can it be, right? ha. ha. ha.

Paige: “hey mom, let’s walk now.”

Me: “No, we have to get to H before we halt!” ponykicks Paige

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But where’s H?

Paige: veers towards Joey’s trail obstacles piled to the right of X and breaks into a walk “whoops mom, tires and poles in the way, guess we have to walk”

Me: “well, if you wouldn’t noodle off to the side and actually went straight down centerline…”

Of course, there are Sarah induced issues that we need to work through. Like convincing Paige not to hang her head like a pleasure horse at a trot and remembering NOT to look down at all times. And like 746 other things that I need lessons for I’m sure.

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That tail swish though.

There are also a couple of things that just being at the show venue will hopefully improve. Paige really doesn’t like to go straight on the “rail” from M to F. I think its because of the massive smattering of weeds that are in the way because as soon as she noodles away from the weedy area, she stops noodling sideways. Field riding is fun you guys. I could move my letters, but then part of our arena would be the hillside…

She’ll also hopefully have a tiny bit more gas in her fuel tank and be less lazy about going into the trot. After running through a few tests and sitting to watch K run through the tests, I’d lost a lot of our forward momentum, so I loped a little bit to get her woke up.

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The other entertaining bit of our evening was that K was running through the tests on Robin since hauling horses back and forth is annoying. Robin hasn’t been ridden in two years or so (and not consistently for over 10 years) and I really don’t have a saddle that fits her well, which is good, because Robin prefers being ridden bareback. Outside of some to-be-expected laziness, the little red horse actually did pretty well. We didn’t bother with a bridle because I honestly can’t remember when she was last ridden with a bit and her teeth haven’t been done in a while, so K just tied her lead rope around to the halter and started riding.

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Ummm…2010 might be the most recent she was in a saddle and bridle at the same time…

Overall we enjoyed practicing riding the tests and we mostly have Intro 1 and 2 memorized. It wouldn’t surprise us at all if we’re the only western dressage competitors there, so we’re planning on reading for each other if we feel nervous about the situation, but we might be each other’s only competition. 😉

I had considered putting Paige in a regular dressage test as well since I have most of the stuff at this point, but it is supposed to be pretty hot the day of the show (and in the nineties an unfortunate number of days between now and then) so I think two tests will be enough to get out there and see how it goes without either of us getting too hot. I think she’ll be more than happy with that plan!

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