TND Championships – Part 3

After my halt I walked towards the judge to thank her (a courteous thing to do after a dressage test) when she told me “your horses head was wagging”. I stood there with Lucky, blinking dumbfounded for a moment until I recovered my senses enough to repeat the phrase head wagging. “Yes, the whole test your horse was head wagging. It was very distracting. The rider after you scratched so you can go right to your second test”. I took a breath and thought about it. Head wagging is not a normal issue for Lucky and I these days. Sure, in the beginning whenever I asked for her to move her neck one way she would dramatically throw it the other, thus creating head wagging when I would ask her to move it again, but that stopped a long time ago.

Lucky was being PERFECT during her test. If there was head wagging going on it was totally my fault. For those of you who don’t know what head wagging is, it is when a rider seesaws on a horses mouth giving the illusion of submission when really all they are doing is forcing the neck down. I might not be the best rider in the world, but I really am not a big fan of short cuts. Clearly I was doing something wrong, and I didn’t want to keep doing it. Normally I would just go again in order to keep the judge happy. There was a break after my second ride so if I went right away they could leave earlier. I knew we were better than a head wagging ride though so I very nicely apologized to the judge for the head wagging and explained that I was going to use that 5 minutes to try and correct that problem.

I trotted Lucky out of the show ring and right in to the warm up calling to my trainer on the way for help. The way the show grounds is set up there are two warm up rings and two show rings so I was able to stay close by while fixing the problem. I worked on keeping my hands quiet and getting Lucky more forward. Sure enough it was only about 2 minutes before there was a noticeable difference in Lucky. After assurances that Lucky’s head wagging really wasn’t bad the first test and hopefully fixing the problem I went back to the show ring for my second test. I was a bit of a risky move to take those 3 minutes because some judges can get annoyed when a rider holds to their original time (even though they shouldn’t), but I had such a pliable horse under me that I really wanted to show off how great she is.

My second test was much better than my first. I had moments of fixing something and then being still, which is not the norm for us in a show ring! I really rode the test to my advantage, using the corners and the circles. I am also proud to say that my geometry was spot on. There was a moment where Lucky “spooked”, and by spooked I mean picked up a canter right in front of the judge. I am assuming it was the hay harvesting noise, but I was so in to my test I don’t really know. It only took a few strides to get her back under control and I took a breath and acted like it never happened and kept going on with my test. By the time we headed up the center I was beaming. I thought the first test was really good, but the second one was even better!

I was a little hesitant to go up to the judge again, but being a person with good manners I told myself to not let her comments upset me and just say thank you and focus on the great test. You will never guess what the judge said to me…

To Be Continued…

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2 thoughts on “TND Championships – Part 3

  1. The head wagging really wasn’t that bad in your first test. And the ‘canter’ was probably for a stride and a half and BEAUTIFULLY handled on your part 🙂

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