Finley Habenicht Grand Times Eventing The Carolinas Equestrian 01 Every eventer out there knows the feeling of waiting for your dressage score.  It can make or break an event!  I used to worry a lot about my dressage.  Even if my test felt great, I would leave thinking, “That transition was terrible,” or “OMG my circles were huge!”  However, this past year I have started riding with a whip in dressage, which has improved Aleta’s movement so much!  In addition, I have been working with my trainer, Whitney Weston, on improving Aleta’s bend and focus.  This has led to some of our best dressage scores yet!  

We have also been working on more in warmup, for instance, I haven’t always practiced my dressage test at all before a show, let alone in warmup, because I used to get worried as I was doing it and would try too hard to make it perfect.  Now, with Whitney, I practice my test before I go in, so I know exactly what Aleta is plotting to do, which makes our score that much better.

With all this dressage work, our jumping has improved a lot as well!  Aleta has always been a very careful jumper, but sometimes I feel like I could help her a little more than I do now.  As Aleta’s collection has improved, I have also been working on my position.  This transfers over to stadium and cross country because we tend to take long spots, which are not always safe.  I have been working on my position, so I don’t send Aleta messages for long spots.  Our jumping has improved and been cleaned up a lot because of this adjustment. Another thing that Aleta and I get in fights over is lead changes.  Aleta knows how to do them and wants to do them, but I haven’t always known how to help her.  Whitney has been helping me with different aids to tell her to change her lead.  Our dressage work has helped me a lot in this because I can change her speed and collection much easier now.

Even with all our practice, there is still so much to learn.  I can’t wait to see what else Whitney and Aleta teach me.  I’m so excited to continue to move forward with the best mare ever!