Ben and I competed in the Novice division at the CDCTA combined test at Mystic Valley Hunt Club yesterday, and I could not have asked for a more perfect day!
He warmed up fantastically for dressage. He felt incredibly light, he was calm, and he was being quite obedient. The only thing I was a bit concerned about was his left canter transitions as he was popping above the bit when he did them in warm up.
We headed down to do our test and he was incredible. He stayed in the bridle the entire time, he was bending really well, and he absolutely nailed his left canter transition. If I was being really picky, he could have had a little more energy in a couple places, especially the free walk, he could have stayed on the bit a better in the canter-trot transitions, and his trot-walk transition was kind of abrupt, but overall the test really was excellent, probably the best one he's ever done.
We were handsomely rewarded for our efforts with our personal best dressage score, a 26! I don't think I stopped smiling the entire day yesterday after that, we've never even broken into the twenties before. His test was all 7s and 8s, which is just remarkable for the horse who scored a 52.6 three months ago...
I don't have the video uploaded yet, but I'll post it here when I do!
Stadium was also great. We just popped over three fences in the warmup before heading into the ring, and he was totally on it, dragging me to all the fences, and jumping clear. I got him a little close to fence 1, I let him get away with dropping his inside shoulder on the way to fence 5, and we has a slight disagreement about the distance to the last fence, but there were all minor things to work on and I was thrilled with the round as a whole. I received lots of compliments on Ben the whole day, which is always a nice feeling, especially on a horse I brought up myself.
I just uploaded the stadium video so here it is:
When all was said and done we finished in second, just one point off the leader! I feel like we're finally starting to put the pieces together; I always knew this horse had a really good dressage test in him!
Next up is Frazier Farm Horse Trials on August 10th!