No riding for 3 weeks - the past 2 weekends were filled with the Junior Camp and the L Program/C Session. Splash was pretty sure he had made the jump via golden parachute into retirement. But NO. I got Friday off so Mallory and I decided to play with the ponies at Che' Cheval. With Mallory's help, we worked both Sister and Splash through several steps of the Clinton Anderson (CA) ground work program. Ivy and Mallory gave Sister a good start in 3 sessions several weeks ago and she seemed to retain a lot of the basics and really did well at: lunging/turning into the round pen, following, yielding the hind quarters, desensitizing w/ lead rope, sending, desensitizing with the stick/string (stage 1 and 2), and backing - all in about an hour.
Then we gave the CA method a try on Splash. True, it was his first time. But, he was very resistant to the idea of giving respect or moving his feet. So, we worked with the lunging lesson/turn into the pen for a long time. Splash got sweaty and out of breath. I was sweaty and out of breath - but I needed a cardio workout. We had to stop with baby steps/looking to the inside. WHEW. We worked next with a little yielding the hind quarters and Splash did OK. Desensitization with the lead went fairly well and we finished with 3 backing exercises (tapping the stick, wiggle the rope, and marching). We took a lunch break. Our Sat. lesson with Patty is scheduled for 5pm so I hope to work Splash a little more CA in the morning.
Ivy and I spent last weekend with the L-Judge candidates at Lily Pond Estates in Kellyville. The focus for the weekend, judging Collective Marks and developing scoring methodologies. The collective marks are the frame around the picture of the test. See the photos at the L Progam photo link. Kathy and Call did a great job demonstratingTraining Level Test 2 and we watched several of our ODS members ride for the judge candidates.
The judge’s task is to place competitors in proper order rewarding training by classical principals, help riders properly develop the horse by giving accurate, helpful comments, and to enhance the quality of dressage riding and training.
The collective marks should be a reflection of the entire test and should be in the same range as the average marks of the test.
• Gaits – the natural athletic ability of the horse. Are the gaits pure – 4 beat walk, 2 beat trot, and 3 beat canter? Is there a tendency to lateral (pace) movement at the trot? Are the walk steps regular and distinct? Is the canter 4-beat or labored? Paces are collected, medium, and extended and should be regular not hurried. Gaits should maintain their purity even in transitions.
• Impulsion – willingness to move forward and to connect (use of topline and thrust)
• Submission – obedience and willingness. Does the horse look happy in his work?
• Rider’s Seat & Position/Rider Biomechanics – from a stable base (seat) the rider’s posture should be vertical when sitting all gaits and slightly forward in the posting trot, shoulders/hips level, hands independent of the seat and with steady, elastic connection with the horse’s mouth. Are the aids effective to accomplish the goals of the test? Is there harmony between horse and rider?
Remember – 8/9/10 are Good, Very Good and Excellent. 7 means Fairly Good and 6 is Satisfactory. 5 is Marginal – 4 is Insufficient.
Purpose of the Levels -
• Training Level - to confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit.
• First Level – in addition to the requirements of Training Level, the horse has developed thrust, improved balance and throughness to maintain more consistent contact with the bit.
• Second Level Collection – to develop/increase the horse’s ability to lower and engage its hindquarters and moves with an uphill tendency.