After two years of a break from competing, I decided to start again. On Saturday our neighbors had a small competition where I decided to try riding my first Vaativa B/Medium test! Although the judge didn't agree with us, I thought it went very well, and I had a lot of fun riding Rama.
Unfortunately, Rama was quite tired by the time it was our turn, since we were last to go and they were running behind schedule. The positive thing is that I learnt that Rama doesn't need or want a long warm up, 15 minutes would be fine for him. Our warm up today stretched to nearly 45 minutes (!!) even though a lot of it was just walking.
The great thing about Rama is that he tries his hardest whenever you start riding a test. His extended trot and canter are explosive yet easily controlled, his walk is smooth and relaxed and his collection comes naturally. His flying changes have also become so much better; they're more uphill, straight, and bouncy. I'm so proud that I have been able to improve his changes, and I'm sure that once he becomes a little bit more secure with them Rama can score 7s and 8s. Because he was so tired, I had to push him forwards a lot - which is totally abnormal, since I normally just try to slow him down. His tiredness also caused him to go behind the vertical a bit, which the judge absolute loathed and she penalized for it a lot.
Things that I am happy about:
- Rama's reinback (which he learnt during 3 rides) were good
- Canter and trot extensions were nice
- My nerves of steel came back! Once I started riding the test, I was super calm
Things we need to work on:
- Staying relaxed in collected walk after the extended walk - Rama started anticipating the next movement
- Lateral movements - have the ability to do the lateral movements and at the same time stay uphill and more open in front as well moving forwards
- Not spooking when the judge stands up at the end of the test
- For me to become more sensitive to whether Rama is behind the vertical
The funniest moment of the test was right at the end when we were coming down the centerline for our final halt and salute, and the judge stood up. Rama totally flipped out, and refused to go to G where we were meant to be halting. According to Rama, judges that stand up eat horses alive and we shouldn't go near them. After some convincing, we made to it to G but the final halt was tense and uneven. Poor horse!!
I learnt so much today, and it has really re-ignited my want to compete! I absolutely love competing, and with a great horse like Rama, this summer will be so much fun. Oh, and I simply adore the rosettes that you get! Check out our first one below!