Ocala winter 2: Dressage and Stadium

Lord, there haven’t been this many show recap posts on this blog in… maybe ever. Even when Henry was in his heyday we didn’t have access to shows like this. This season has been a lot, but it’s slowly starting to wind down.

spoiler alert – he has been just the bestest dude

This time we were back at the Florida Horse Park for Ocala Winter 2, and entered again in the 6 year old Training division. Huge fan of the one day format they offer on Thursdays at these winter shows, especially since a lot of the work I do now is on the weekends. It’s honestly easier for me to show on a Thursday than it is on a Saturday. And to be honest I kind of like that it ends up putting me in the pro divisions, too. We always seem to be running ahead of schedule, the warmups are less hectic, and I like to see where my horse stacks up in comparison with all the nice young imports. It’s a “made in the USA” point of pride thing, just go with it.

This show all my times were quite close together – dressage at 12:45, showjumping at 2:11, XC at 2:50. Because my trainer was also showing her 7yo in the Prelim, we walked our XC courses the afternoon before. I rolled into the show about an hour before my dressage time, slowly tacked up and got ready, and then headed to warmup. And Michelle came this time with her camera, so I actually have dressage pics!

6 years old makes all the difference. Just lookit him. ❤

Presto has really become the king of getting right to business in dressage warmup. It’s very amusing to me how he knows the difference between each phase and his behavior in the warmup is dramatically different for each. I’m glad he does not choose lawless chaos for dressage warmup… he’s more like “let’s get this boring shit done and move along”. If you didn’t know him and only watched him in dressage you’d be like “what a lovely quiet serene animal”. HA. Hahahaha.

His ever-present side eye is your only indication of what truly lies within

Our little division (there were only 2 of us this time in the 6yo, which made me sad, but I think it’s because 1) so many of the pros were at Carolina this weekend 2) a lot of the 6yos have moved up to Modified already) was tacked on at the end of the day, so by the time we went in for our test there weren’t many of us left in warmup. We also had the ring closest to cross country, which thrilled me (sarcasm)… Presto always has one eye out on XC when we’re showing here. He’s no fool.

The plan this time was to just go for a quiet test, since he got a little rattled a couple times in the last two. Especially since we were back to Test A, which has the canter lengthenings on the 20m circle, which are hard for a horse this large and young in a ring that small. I didn’t plan to really ask for much lengthening at all, and wanted to just keep the test generally as boring as possible.

Which we did manage to accomplish. He stayed quiet and relaxed the whole way through (although he did take a strong peek over toward XC when we were trotting down that long side) but I definitely didn’t “go for it” at any point. I had a couple accuracy mistakes where I was just a step early or a step late for a couple of things, but otherwise he was quite obedient. Scores ranged from 6 to 8, with mostly 7’s, and comments about showing more (the judge was correct every time he said that, I didn’t show much of some things on purpose lol) and keeping Presto’s wayward hindquarters under control (yes this is my eternal struggle at this point in time with his training, he is a massive giraffe).

always happy with a “nice ride” comment!

I’ll always be happy with a boring test, and it sat us on a 30.0 after the first phase, which gave us a 9 point lead.

We weren’t able to walk stadium, so after dressage we sat by the ring and watched some rounds to learn the course and see how it was riding. The giant ring at FHP always makes it feel like courses are forever long, even though they’re not. I feel like they do a good job of making the courses very different every time too, I’ve yet to jump a similar course.

Naturally as soon as I got on to go warmup Presto clicked into SJ warmup mode, which is to say that he switched over from boring to feral. SJ warmup is where he brings out his spooky personality, and he immediately started looking for a good excuse to spin and launch himself into the air. He chose a man that was just standing there trying to enjoy his frozen lemonade on a hot afternoon, who looked very much like a deer in the headlights when Presto was like WHAT IS HE DOING I THINK I SHOULD TURN INTO A WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MAN ABOUT IT. The man kindly asked me if I wanted him to move and I said “no you’re fine, thank you though, he’s not actually scared of you, he’s just being himself.”. I distracted Presto with harder flatwork until he forgot about it, and we managed to keep all 4 feet on the ground when we were supposed to.

The round itself was just “fine”… I didn’t ride the first half forward enough so we got deep a few places, but Presto has been jumping so much better through his body (and is so deeply unchallenged by 1 meter) that he easily compensated. Once I actually put him out in front of me more and let him go more forward it smoothed out and was a lot better. I dunno y’all, I’m just kind of slow on the uptake sometimes.

he no touchie tho

Thanks to Presto (perhaps less so his pilot) we managed a clear round and stayed on our dressage score to retain the lead. I was pleased with him – I’m always pleased with him when he shows signs of maturity like that – especially since there were plenty of rails falling all day in all the divisions. He’s a good boy when it matters.

Then it was a quick trip back to the trailer to put our extra stuff on for XC!

7 thoughts on “Ocala winter 2: Dressage and Stadium

  1. Can we please please please get a gif or video of Presto doing his WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MAN impression??? Pretty please? It sounds amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hahahaha his face in that last photo as he’s half-assing over the jump – I zoomed in to see and I am cracking up! I too would love to see his whacky waving inflatable arm man shenanigans. 🙂


  3. I’m living vicariously through you, so I’m loving all these show recaps! Presto (with the exception of stadium warm-up clearly) has really matured so much this year. You two look fantastic.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s