Monday, April 15, 2024

Start your engines

 My dissertation took a bit of a turn when we decided to cram the whole thing in six weeks.  That put me well ahead of the original plan and the rest of my cohort.  Not a lot of folks can say their dissertation manuscript was completed five months early which put me at 2 years and 8 months into my doctoral journey.  I defend May 1st and, assuming I pass, I'll have that Dr. title.  Completing this journey feels amazing and it still hasn't sunk in that I will have no homework, classes, or school work for the rest of my life.  

Why the sudden push to complete?  I've got other stuff to do this summer.  Mostly involving my favorite little trouble maker.

We got our first show out of the way today with a schooling show.  Got to love a schooling show in April when all of the horses are trying to remember how any of this works.  And Theo still looks like a woolly mammoth.  This was also a combined test so there were a lot of eventers knocking off the winter rust.  But when it's only 15 minutes away from the barn and a show ground where Theo feels very comfortable, you absolutely show up.  And it's my local dressage group hosting it so it qualifies me for more year end satin.  Yay!

Theo is such an old pro that his job was to keep a baby stallion company and let me practice being a Third level rider.  He was so good.  He was being very careful with me to start because I was nervous which is sweet but also problematic.  Careful Theo is First level Theo, keeping things flat and boring so he doesn't accidentally bounce me off.  Can't do a lot of Third level stuff in that frame.  I had to settle in and then play with Theo a bit to get him to relax and get into a Third level frame of mind.  We were in the double because it makes me more confident when I know I can stop any of his dramatics quickly.

It's almost hard for me to recognize him.  He's so bouncy and uphill these days.  We got a 61.7% for that test.  Two errors in the Third 2 test got me a 58% with similar scores to my first test.  Third 2 is so much harder than Third 1 with lots more to remember.  I now know I need to work on my ability to collect under pressure, I was struggling a bit with getting the job done with everyone staring at me.  The changes were all completely non-dramatic even in warmup which was nice.  None of them were both clean and on the aids but they were green bean changes, not problematic or explosive.  5.5 for all of them which I will happily take.

It was a confidence booster.  I left points on the table as he wasn't really in front of my leg even in the show ring so there's more points in that test.  the judge's comments were 'willing but needs more power'.  Completely agree, we can do more.  I just need to trust hitting that button when all alone in the show ring.  We've got our first rated outing in May so we have time to work on getting him really up in front of my leg.  It's still hard for me to go into that level of collection since he can boil over so easily.  I got him up into his fancy trot a couple times and it was definitely a moment of pride to show him off like that.  I need to keep doing it until I realize it's just how he works now.  It's fine.  He's supposed to be coiled up like a spring about to explode.  He likes being there.


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