And that is the consistent feedback I got from the latest show. The majority of the comments were around getting Dexter "relaxed across the top line," whether it was on the circle during a transition, even at the walk. And I know, we've been working on it. But I guess I thought it was better than that. Its all relative right. I know he's more relaxed than he was when I got him, but this is the first time the judge has ever seen him, so she doesn't know that, all she knows is he's still tense. And that's fine, we will continue to work on it. Other than that, all the comments were expected, he wasn't bent to the right, because he was over bending and we've been trying to correct it, so we are working on it. He isn't balanced completely at the canter yet, I know, still a work in progress. And he still needs to stretch more on the stretchy parts.... again, getting better but needs work.
I like reading the comments because it shows we are working on the right things. Despite the scores, it lets us know if we are on the right track. I guess theoretically we wouldn't be showing until all the major components were perfect, but we just don't have that kind of time. And being that Dexter gets exponentially better every time I take him out I think it's worth it. He doesn't get a whole lot better on scores, but he does on behavior and concentrating. I took him out 45 minutes before his first class, thinking we'd have to take some time to ride the buck and silly out of him before he'd settle down.... nope. He was better there than at home, I was like, ok, what do I do for the next 30 minutes??
Place-wise he got 2 firsts and a second. While I'm proud of him for doing so well, we only had 2 people in our class, so this time around we focused on the comments and overall scores. We didn't win the first places by a large margin, and where we got 2nd, the rider (she only rode in that one class) blew us away. I saw her in the warm-up, a very nice horse and nice rider, so no beef here, we were clearly out-matched.
So comparing our scores to the last show, we were about the same.... always somewhere in the 60-62% range. Our one major improvement was we got higher scores on our medium walks, may be a small victory but its a victory none the less. And a little better on our stretch circles, which is good, we will get there. I know we have it at home, I just need him (and I) to relax a little more.
Next stop.... Fort Collins Schooling Show.... I know, I'm sure there are those of you who think I may be going a bit overboard with the shows. But I really love doing it, I love the experience and seeing all the other horses and riders. And the way I figure it I'm just condensing my show season in half, trying to get as many shows in before I can't ride anymore.