I was super happy with both horses today in their PSG tests. My main goal for today was to ride with more power and expression from the get-go, rather than starting conservatively (which is what I normally do). Both horses were much better, particularly Victor was really "on" and had a brilliant test despite a few bobbles. Majek is getting much more ridable on the double and less defensive about the contact, so I can push the envelope more. It wasn't long ago that trying to add power to the equation made him likely to have a meltdown!
I was a little disappointed to end up with only a 63 on Victor, although we did end up 3rd in that pretty competitive class. First and second were pretty close both with 66. The judges were mostly critical of the engagement problem in the trot particularly and the slight tension over the back. I also got killed on the little bobbles. Oh well. I was happy I met my goals for myself!
Majek was close behind Victor with a 62 (although 7th, so quite a few horses in that range). Generally needs more power and engagement.
Later that day, we watched the first group of the Dressage Seat medal finals, which I think is a great program to get junior riders focusing on improving their position and seat. It also gives them a big goal to work towards (competing at a national final). The riders definitely sit quietly and well, with suppleness, low quiet hands, and nice posture. That was one thing I was very impressed by the Junior riders in Gladstone last year, they all sat rather well.
That said, the program needs to improve the difficulty of the "test" the riders have to ride. The pattern should demonstrate the effectiveness of the rider, which is why it should be more complex and technical. In 4-H we always had a pretty difficult pattern, which typically included halts, reinback of prescribed number of steps, turn on the forehand and/or haunches, transitions between trot and canter, serpentines, etc. The pattern for the Dressage seat finals consisted of trotting down the centerline, riding a 10m circle right at X, followed by a 10m circle left at X, continuing down the centerline, turning left at C, then walking in the corner. That was it!! Particularly at a National Final, the expectations for degree of difficulty in the test need to be much, much higher.
Tomorrow we start early, Majek goes first in the I-1 at 8am and Victor follows at 9:37. I'm looking to improve Majek's uphill carriage for tomorrow, and clean up a few of the little bobbles with Victor. I also need to ride the transitions within the gait with Victor a little more clearly.
Good night all!