Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gearing up for Dressage at Devon

For the past few years I have missed Dressage at Devon due to a European oncology conference.  Since I am not attending the conference this year I will be joining the throngs of dressage fans at one of the most popular venues on the east coast.  Wishing that I was riding, I will instead be a spectator, thinking about how I might get to participate a few years from now with Nikki.  For those unfamiliar with the show, there are no lower level classes as they start at 4th level and go through Grand Prix.  There are the FEI 5 and 6 year old tests the USDF 4 year old test and of course the breed show under saddle classes.  Junior and Young Rider classes are included and a dressage equitation class.  So right now there really is not anything for me to compete in for the next few years.  Yes, Nikki is 6, but I did not participate in the classes during the year because she is simply not ready.  That is my own fault with career obligations and Nikki's winter off putting a dent in her training and development.  We have been working steadily since spring and though pleased with Nikki's progress we still have a long way to go.

So this year at Devon I am planning to attend Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to watch as many classes as possible.  One of my favorite things to do is watch the warm up area to see how people prepare.  The warm up at Devon is difficult because there is not a large area and it can get quite busy.  WiFi is available at Devon but I am not sure how well it works so I may need a hot spot.  With any luck there will be a good signal in the stands from which the current plan is to publish a blog post at the end of each class.  At the end of the day I will add a wrap up post and general impressions.

Sunday September 22, 2013
Arriving at the barn following heavy over night rain I was welcomed by a chorus of nickers when i opened the barn door.  All of the horses were in because of the rain and they were oh so hopeful that I was there to feed them.  Looking to see where the horses were in the field next to the arena (with the hope of avoiding the antics of the day before) I was thrilled to see that they were already closed in their paddock.  In spite of the chilly air and being inside during the night Nikki was in a very workable frame of mind!  There were some puddles in the arena but overall the footing was not bad.  I thought that it felt a little slippery in spots so I did not push with the more forward tempos within each gait.  Pleased with my ride and comfortable with the footing I decided to lunge Suki.  I really didn't push her, but just let her use herself the way she wanted to.  There was stiffness at the start again but having been in her stall overnight and somewhat stocked up behind I expected that.  Suki worked out of the stiffness and her hind legs returned to normal.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A beautiful chilly morning but Nikki decided to remove her sheet sometime during the night.  Yes, the new sheet.  Legstraps and surcingles were intact but she broke the front clip to get out of it, and apparently threw it in the mud as well!

Today was the start of the breed show at DAD and for once it was not a rainy day, and did not rain yesterday.  Often the breed show seems to be plagued by either rain during the competition or torrential rain the day before causing sloppy footing.  The temperatures were also warm but not hot and the evenings promise to be cool.
Here are the day sheets for the performance division:

And the breed show:

Stay tuned for impressions, results and test observations beginning Thursday!

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