The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 3

My first halt ended up being a heck of a lot closer to G than to X. I had no breaks! Not a good way to start a dressage test. Undeterred, I reminded myself that each movement is scored separately. Who cares if I blew my first centerline, it was only 10 points. By the time I got to my first canter transition I was tense again. My test was not going very well, My lucky was not listening to me. I took a breath and asked for the canter and Lucky did a nice upward.

I was just starting to think that maybe I could save this test when it was time to trot again…and Lucky wouldn’t trot! We played tug of war for what felt like forever and lost a ton of points because cantered out of the circle and on to the next movement. Some judges would have blown the whistle on that, but this judge was kind and could tell that I was trying to get Lucky to stop. My arms and back were tight and ridged across the diagonal, so the one movement that I can usually get a good score on I blew.

Lucky and I were starting to fight with each other. We were only halfway through out test and we were fighting. When Lucky and I start getting frustrated with each other it escalates quickly. By the time we got to the 2ndcanter transition I wanted to be anywhere but riding a test with Lucky. Sure enough she threw her face in the air in the upward, and when it was time to do the downward…well…she just didn’t feel like it.
Lucky ignored my request to trot for so long we actually missed that trot section and even most of the medium walk. In fact,  I used a pully rein (which I am not proud of) in order to get her to slow down. I was so frazzled at that point that the free walk was a disaster and I was completely defensive in my riding when we trotted again. By the time we halted again I was done. I didn’t want to ride Dressage anymore. I didn’t want to do another test. I didn’t even want to be riding Lucky at that moment. I was miserable, frustrated and embarrassed.  People that know me can attest to the fact that I don’t embarrass easily, but walking up to the judge I was in full on humiliation more.

The judge was wonderfully kind. She reminded me to sit back more in my downwards and keep my hands up. She did point out that my horse was naughty, but she made things seem fixable, not disastrous like I felt it was.  As I walked out of the ring my frustration point was to the max. I was done. I was stuck in the same place I had been all year and it just wasn’t going to get any better. I wasn’t having fun. Lucky wasn’t having fun. I thought the best thing to do was just to quit for the day and try again next year.

To Be Continued…


Thank you again to Boomerang for taking the video…even if I don’t love what I see, it is still good to see it!

One thought on “The “I don’t want to canter” horse show – Part 3

  1. Everybody has bad days…the only thing we can do is learn from those bad days and move forward to the next day. Lucky is lovely and even though there were moments of naughtiness, there was no out of control craziness! And the location you are riding, wow! BEAUTIFUL!

    If you are sure she’s not having fun with dressage, why not give something else a try? Just cause we WANT our horse to enjoy our chosen discipline doesn’t mean they do…but they could be really good and be really happy doing something else. My first OTTB HATED dressage, no matter how much I tried to convince her it was fun, she wasn’t enjoying it. I tried many different things with her (hunter, jumper, barrels, gymkhanas) and found out she’d rather chase hounds, or go out on trails with plenty of galloping room and natural jumps, so, that’s what we did and we loved it!

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