By Jennifer Klitzke
At the June Rocking R Farm Schooling Show, Gift of Freedom (Makana) and I took our first crack at riding through a stadium course over ground rails. What a large and fun course of 12-plus fences it was! We began well until we reached the fences along the bushes and Makana got stuck. It felt like we were stuck for HOURS! When we reached the finish line, my saintly husband said, “Hmm, I’m not sure Makana is suited for this type of showing.” Well, maybe not, but schooling over rails and fences at home has really improved her canter.
Stadium jumping might not be her thing, but Makana loves the dressage ring, and that’s where we had two very nice First Level rides scoring 65% and 66.49%. She lost her impulsion in the deep sand along the corners but regained it to show a noticeable difference between the working and medium canters and the flat walk and lengthening along the diagonals. Makana scored high in her center line for obedience and straightness and her squareness at the halt.
Areas we need to work on include consistency in connection, forwardness through the corners, and for me, keeping my hands close together through the entire test. Her leg yields are terrific at a regular walk, but we have yet to show the leg yield at a flat walk.
I love showing dressage for the reason that I get specific feedback from a professional eye on where we’re at in our training, both me and my horse. It gives us something to work towards and know when we are ready to move to the next level. By the end of the summer, I hope that Makana and I will move up to First Level test three and Second Level test one.
This was the first time Rocking R Farm offered Western Dressage and two women did a beautiful job riding their tests. At the next Rocking R Farm schooling show, I may tinker with riding western dressage—gaited style!
At each show, I’ve had great conversations with people who are interested in gaited dressage and this show was no exception. One of these days, I hope that Makana and I won’t be the only ones showing gaited dressage!