We rode the test without going off course and no whistles in error by the judge, both of which happened last month. There wasn't anything that went wrong with the ride. Speedy G was well behaved and tried to give me a good ride. Most of the errors seemed to belong to me. I need to allow him to stretch into the contact and be less restrictive.
At the end of the test, I could see that there was no "on deck" rider waiting. I asked the ring steward if we were ahead of schedule, and when she confirmed that we were, I volunteered to ride my second test right then. The judge was delighted with my enthusiasm and gave me the go ahead. As hot as it was, I knew that waiting forty-five minutes for my second test wasn't going to do either of us any good, so we rode again. Here's Test C:
A bit later in the morning, while I was waiting for my test to be given back, I was chatting with some of the volunteers about my rides. I had some questions and they were happy to share their thoughts with me. When the judge walked in for his break, several of the ladies encouraged me to ask him directly about his comments. Eek! Really? Well, okay!
I walked up to him, looking brave and confident but feeling like a dork, and asked him if it was okay for me to ask him questions about his remarks. When he said sure with a warm smile, I reminded him of which rider I was. My questions had to do with shortening my reins and establishing contact. How can I establish contact and lengthen my reins? He explained that at Introductory Level, the purpose was to teach the horse to reach for the contact. This means that the reins need to be slightly longer and that the rider needs to encourage the horse to lengthen without hurrying. Hmm ... This sounds like very good advice and something that we will continue to work on. The judge also added that I will easily earn more points if I allow Speedy to reach forward instead of restricting his movement. More points equals a higher score. We can do that!
Overall, I am tickled to death with our rides, regardless of the nice scores. I know how it felt, and I am happy! In case you missed it in my earlier post, our score for Intro B was 63.125% and Intro C was 62.00%