How can I go from earning 58% – 63% last year, to earning a walloping 73% this year? Was this judge just “easy?” I want to say no since she only gave three scores over 70%, two of them were to me. She even doled out a 49% - ouch! Were we really that good?
Here’s what we did to earn those nice scores:
- I took a lot of lessons, and I did my best not to completely stink each time. Even the day I got off and had a cussing out-loud melt down, I did my best. I cussed, I kicked the dirt, I growled at the pony, but I got back on.
- Do you remember how much it rained in December ... and January ... and February ... and even March? I rode 15 days out of 30. I rode when it was muddy, when it was blowing, when it was cold. I even rode a few times in the rain.
- I read a lot of issues of Dressage Today, and I studied the articles like text books. Sounds dumb, I know, but some of those articles are really good.
- I memorized those tests. After December’s debacle, the one in which I hastily found a reader and then couldn’t keep up with her calls and went off course, I decided to really learn the tests. I rehearsed the movements in my head EVERY night as I went to sleep. And in the two weeks before the show, I focused really hard on what the judge was looking for in the movements. I just didn’t have enough experience to do that last summer. Frankly, before this last month, it never occurred to me that the judges were looking for something specific. I mean, I knew they were watching, but it didn't occur to me that it was for something really definite. Duh!
Earning good scores once doesn’t make me an expert, or even good, at anything. I recognize that I will no doubt continue to work hard and still earn a 57%, or that ever-lurking 36%. But I don't think that we did well because I was lucky. I worked really hard and it showed, this time.
Said by the queen of self-deprecation!