Don't get me wrong, I had a fantastic time at both the California Dressage Society's Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) and the Championship show, but making our First Level debut with lots of supportive friends in a schooling show environment with zero pressure was FUN!
I have not laughed so much in a long time. Two friends showed up to watch and support our efforts (admittedly one was there to also trailer and serve as groom to another competitor, but still …). Being able to laugh at Speedy's wild and wooly antics with friends made the whole thing a very positive experience. Both the RAAC and the Championship Show were so serious that goofing off and laughing uproariously were not necessarily appropriate. At a schooling show, it was fine.
We crashed and burned … okay, not completely, but I definitely know what we need to work on. And even though there were mistakes, we had some really good moments as well. And not that it means anything to anyone else, but I thrive on positive feedback. The judge, a well-respected "L" Graduate, was super kind and generous in her comments, which encourages me for the next show. Isn't that the point of a schooling show?
Not only was the judge kind, but Chemaine, my away-from-home trainer, had some really good comments for me as well. I don't want fake compliments, but I definitely need to hear what has improved and what we're doing right. Chemaine noted that our trot work was spot on and that we have finally achieved some inside bend. And given that I rode with her just four or five weeks ago, it was especially gratifying to hear that progress has been made in such a short time.
First Level was fun, fun, fun, Speedy found it quite challenging, which is probably a good thing as his little smarty Arabian brain loves new and different. I think he's going to have a lot to chew on over this winter.
I promise to do a write-up of my lesson with Chemaine as well as share my score sheets with the judge's comments. For now, I need to get back to the real world, but I am holding tight to that little glow that moving up a level has left behind.