I've only shown First Level three times: a schooling show this past November (with the old tests), a CDS-rated show in May, and at another CDS-rated show this past weekend. At the schooling show, Speedy and I earned a 63% and a 64%. I figured we scored well because it was only a schooling show, and the judges try to give you a reason to come back.
At the CDS show in May, we earned a 55% and a 63%. For the first test, Speedy and I were rusty; we hadn't shown in six months! We shook off the cobwebs for the second test and proved that we actually were ready for First Level.
And then there was this weekend's show. In a nutshell, Speedy brought his A-game, and I was right there with him preparing for movements and being completely present and in the moment. Our hard work paid off with a 65.741% and a 67.344%. I am not even going to pretend to be nonchalant about it. I was thrilled!
Once I start scoring solidly in the 60s at CDS shows, I know it's time to test ourselves against a standard that is less gentle on the ego. It becomes time to suck it up a bit and move on to USDF shows. Those are the scores that really tell me how we're doing.
We're ready. We've scored consistently at First Level over a seven month period with only three dressage lessons. Not only are the scores consistent, but they're getting better each time. We'll be heading to El Sueno at the end of July for a two-day USDF show. That show will be our litmus test. What do we have down pat, and what do we need to work on?
No matter how we do, I am finding the work in First Level to be a welcome challenge that is fun and stimulating!