This past weekend our barn hosted a Test of Choice dressage show. Since I’ve been riding Val pretty consistently, I decided to enter him. I wasn’t sure what test to enter (I wanted to do a trot lengthen but not canter- there’s a test for that, right?) and trainer Sarah suggested the new eventing Modified Test. I was excited to try out this new test, meant as a stepping stone for riders looking to make the move from Training to Prelim. I’ve obviously never ridden Val in a dressage show, or a dressage arena, and had no idea what to expect, so we decided to practice the test in our lesson earlier in the week.
The test is very similar to the T3D test but is in a small arena, and I found it to be a bit easier it doesn’t have all the movements the T3D does, and it sets you up really nicely for all the movements. Things come up quickly and the first thing I realized when riding the test on Val was that I needed to prepare and ask for the next movement with much more time than I did on Georgie. In the lengthen canter especially. I really needed to half halt and insist that he come back to me.
The test went pretty well. Val was relaxed and easy to ride. He knew his job and was a very good boy. In retrospect there are lots of things I would have liked to do better. He has a lovely trot lengthen (such a treat!) but I didn’t ask for much on our first go. I also could have kept my contact a bit more consistent throughout.
We had one flub going left in the canter he swapped leads. Argh. We have been struggling with this, but I did a bad job setting him up for the canter and using my body correctly to help him.
I’ve only been riding Val a little over a month so I was proud of how we did, considering when I started riding him all we worked on was getting him fit enough to be able to do these movements. I’ve also found a dressage saddle that fits him (although the stirrups are bit long for me at the top hole) that I can borrow and it has made a difference in how I ride him and the ease of asking for things.
I’m super lucky to have this fun horse to ride. I decided to make his show name Valiant Effort for the day and it seemed to suit him well. I have lots more going on this week, some good, some not so good, but am excited to fill you in on all of it!