|Proof of life after our adventures of last weekend ;)|
My goals going into this show were:
- The judge today was our dressage clinician a year or so ago at a clinic that went all kinds of bad. Despite the feedback, I didn't lose faith in the pony, but it left me feeling like I was hopeless as a rider. This show was a good test for me as far as show nerves and confidence goes. I felt like if I could keep my head in the game and ride a good, confident test in front of this particular judge, it would be a huge. The mind games, I play them, and I play them poorly ;) It's petty, but I also wanted to do well enough to force her have to give us a good mark or two.
-Better the 64% that we've gotten at all three previous shows we've been to. (x2 tests at some of them, which means I have a larg-ish stack of assorted 64% tests) This was more of a secret hopeful goal, I knew the judge today would be super tough so I would have actually been thrilled with another 64%.
The test ridden: EC Eventing Entry Test 2. Pretty straightforward test in a 20x40 area.
Since we have yet to ride a dressage test in anything but torrential downpour and wind the weather decided to cooperate and bring just that. I know some of you out there have found a niche at a certain level or even a certain test. Bridget and I are rapidly finding our niche - riding tests during weather warnings :)
|Maybe easier to just stay home? Luckily, my truck is cool with flooded roads|
Since there were a few cancellations, we ended up riding 30 min early which meant I was in the saddle for all of about 10 min before they were calling for me. A more dedicated person would have made them wait and finished their warmup, but honestly, Bridget felt ok and the thought of being 30 min closer to a warm shower and dry clothes was too tempting! So, in the arena we went!
Bridget was a little tense and looky at the judges tent blowing in the wind, but the test rode well and felt quite accurate. With B being a little fresh, our up transitions were bang on, but she was pulling me around a bit and not as soft/round as I had hoped. Our second medium walk had a bit of jigging as she anticipated the trot transition, but all in all I was pleased and felt it was by far our best test to date.
The second test was an opportunity to fix the mistakes of the first, and Bridget was such a good girl. She was a lot more warmed up, so things flowed a little more nicely and I felt bad for rushing into the first test. Lots of little things to work on, as always, but it felt like a really solid effort and I was beyond pleased with her - I felt like it was the best we're currently capable of bringing, and for B to go out in the such miserable weather and give me such a nice try had me grinning from ear to ear.
EC managed to watch our tests and was beyond happy with them, which of course made me feel great! She's a fabulous, positive coach, but compliments are rare and mean a lot to me.
So, as for what the judge saw...
Test 1: Two low marks of 5.5 for submission and that little jig in the medium walk, a single 8(!) for the free walk. Rest 6's and 7's.
Comments: "Tactfully ridden. Keep up the very good work!" (Yep, she immediately remembered us from the terrible clinic - my moving to a new town didn't make us any less distinctive, apparently!)
Score: 63.75% Another 64-ish percent test for our stack. Funny how some tests felt bad, and some felt really good for us, like this one, but the judges score the same! Seriously happy though, because as mentioned, tough judge and a more difficult test than our previous ones.
Test 2: Low mark of 6 (multiples). The ones that have comments note B was above the bit in one of the canter transitions, but steady, and that she needed to stretch down a little more in a couple of the trots. High of 8 (twice!), again for the free walk, and also for the medium walk and working trot. Remainder 6.5 - 7
Comments: "Everything improved, well done!"
Score: 67.75% I'm beyond thrilled with that and think we are ready to try some First level tests next time out.
For the record, redemption feels quite nice :)