jumping:dressage with obstacles as showing: ??

Remember when the SAT had that amazing analogies section that confused the fuck out of 96% of people, and the last 4% were major over achievers or just faking their understanding?  Yeah, those were awesome.  I finally understand how to do them, now.  Thirteen years too late.

this is my horse scratching his own sheath with his teeth because he’s just that flexible.
on the other hand, the mystery of how he bloodied his sheath is now solved.

We hear a lot of analogies in training; jumping is just dressage with obstacles, right? (Or, as I like to call it “dressage with shit in the way”).  And I’m going to try to push my own analogy for the forseeable future.  And please, chime in with your opinions on this because I am pretty sure I just made this up and it could be completely, completely invalid.

Showing: just schooling with field trips.

Part of this is a coping mechanism.  Murray and I aren’t anywhere near as “ready” for Twin as I hoped to be (though every ride we have as the show gets closer promises to prove me wrong), and if there’s anything I hate it’s being underprepared.  But my goal is to get him out and showing this year, and so even if we aren’t going out there totally prepared to finish on our dressage score or ready to take home all the prize moneyz, this will still be a valuable experience for us.  Every show that we get through without Murray being a) eaten by a pony-eating jump, b) murdered by his owner, or c) disqualified is another check mark in the “see, shows aren’t that bad Murray!” column.  And that’s what I want.

And really, should an impending show change the way I’m schooling and riding?  I’m trying to create a well-rounded and correct horse, not learn tricks to pick up points on a dressage test.  Sponging my hands or wiggling my ring finger or whatever other nonsense I could come up with to get Murray to look like he’s in a frame for a dressage test aren’t going to be long term solutions that teach him how to come on the bit and use his body better.  Sure, there are movements that need a little more practice and transitions that can be polished, but ideally, I’d be working those transitions in at home as well.  But those aren’t big things that I need be “preparing” for.

things i do need to prepare for: making my fabulous new stock ties!!

So for the rest of the year, I’m going to treat all of my upcoming shows as schooling field trips.  Or try to, at least.  Schooling field trips that I’ll get feedback from strangers on!  And where my tack is really clean and my breeches really white.

The goal is not to change my riding or training or stress out about the fact that shows mean things to people who like to win (I am also one of these people, so I’m trying to be less of one of these people).  Shows are just schooling away from home or schooling after a trailer ride.  We’ll see if this mentality works on Murray!

7 thoughts on “jumping:dressage with obstacles as showing: ??”

  1. omg yes. i tell myself that shows are just schooling anyway. i tell myself that ALL THE TIME. esp bc… well.. we really truly are doing schooling shows, not recognized. so…. it’s kinda true.

    but like, i will often make little decision trees for myself if i see something challenging on the course walk. like, if there’s an option that i know will be hard, i’ll say “if things are going really well then we’ll just keep cruising through the easy side. but if we’ve already had some rough parts or maybe we dropped a rail or didn’t score well in dressage, then i’m already not worried about my score anyway and will treat the course as schooling and aim for the harder part.’ and with izzy, i always looked for extra opportunities to school water while we were on course.

    alternatively, when i was thinking about moving up to novice – i always looked for opportunities to weave in novice elements in my bn course (for instance, maybe doing a full A-B novice line when only either the A or the B was on the bn course.

    not sure if that’s really your point here – or your question. but i find it really really useful to remind myself that it’s just schooling. we’ve got time. if i need to take extra steps to set us up for success, or take extra time to school something that maybe didn’t go well, then so be it. we paid to use the facilities after all, might as well take advantage!


  2. Great way to look at it! We always joke that once show season ends we can finally get back to work on riding. Not getting ready for a show. So I get what you mean. Sometimes show season is a detriment to our overall progress… but it can also really help. I think you’ll have a great time at Twin, especially with this mindset!


  3. My first show this year isn’t even giving out ribbons (gasp!! I KNOW) so I’m curious to see if the lack of pressure makes Bobby and I less prone to flinging ourselves across the ring.


  4. It’s a very good attitude to have. I have a hard time actually having that feeling though. It’s easy with Levi because we go with the expectation that we’ll lose. But with Nilla, I know she can do well, so then I get competitive even if I tell myself I shouldn’t be.


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