Not much to say here other than to ask, whom was the judge watching? I knew, just knew that my second test of the day was not anywhere near as “nice” as the first one had been. Training Level Test 3 was scheduled less than 30 minutes after T-2, which initially seemed like a good idea, but in retrospect, proved challenging.
With less than 30 minutes to go, I couldn’t go back to the barn and unsaddle, but I also knew that riding Speedy in the warm up for the whole time would be a colossal mistake. To compromise, I went back to the barn for a few minutes to re-read the test, and then we ambled over to the warm up ring for a bit of a stretchy walk. With 8 minutes to go, I headed over to the ring to wait. I could tell that Speedy was getting grumpy. He was pretty done with the day already, lazy boy, and kept trying to trick me into walking the short 40 yards back to the barn.
As the rider before me saluted and began her walk out, I nudged Speedy forward only to discover that I had to do more than nudge. I was right there with him. I was tired too, but I was determined to ride and knew that we could do this last ride well.
I am not sure what happened to our enter working trot, but for both tests we entered crooked and halted in anything but a square frame: 5.5. From there, I felt like I was 3 seconds behind Speedy for every movement. I kept trying to slow him down or speed him up or soften him or move him over or any other number of things.
As we came down the centerline for our halt, I knew it wasn’t our best ride, but it was the best I could do at the time. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't a standout ride either. I was happy to be done and equally happy that nothing horrible had happened.
I walked Speedy back to the trailer and un-tacked him while feeding him handfuls of cookies. I gave him lots of pats and good boys and thanked him for his effort. We zipped back over to his stall where a yummy beet pulp/rice bran/senior feed (don’t even ask) mash laced with electrolytes was waiting. Speedy knows that the mash means his work for the day is done. He looked relieved to be able to be truly done for the day.
Before checking my scores, I grabbed a cool drink and sat in the shade while he chowed down. Once I figured the class had closed, I walked on up to the show office for a peek at my score. I had already given myself a stern lecture about NOT being disappointed with the score no matter how low it was (no more tears for this girl). I knew it wasn’t my best ride, and tomorrow we had another chance to put it all together.
My goal for the weekend was to get a qualifying score for RAAC, which would also count as a USDF Rider Performance Score. I needed a 60%. My T-2 test, at 57.679%, had fallen short, which prepared me for an even lower T-3 score. Much to my surprise, we scored higher for the second test – 60.200%. Seriously?
Yep. Apparently I stink at Training Level Test 2. I am considering giving up on that test and doing just test 1 and test 3. Speedy is pretty good at that one loop serpentine in test 3. Each time he does it he gets a pretty decent score. For this go, the judge gave us a 6.5 for the first one and a 6 for the second one. We’ll take it!
We didn’t get any 7s for this test, but we also avoided the 4 from T-2. Our stretchy trot, which I thought was hurried, earned an improved 5.5. Our left lead canter earned a 6 with the comment, obedient and then stiffening. Oh well, at least it started out well! The right lead canter also earned a 6, which is a far cry from the 4s we were earning last year.
Overall, the test felt weak but looked better to the judge. What do I know? Apparently not much! I suspect that I actually went out there and rode better, but was more aware of the errors. I think this is a very good thing as you can't improve upon what you don't know is weak.
The good news is that I earned a RAAC qualifying score and my third USDF Rider Performance Award score. Since this show had only one judge, I couldn't earn another score for RAAC or the USDF award so the pressure was truly off.
Someone asked if this judge was particularly tough. I wouldn't say that she was unfairly tough, but she wasn't giving points away either. Day one's scores went something like this:
- four scores of 70, and two of them went to an intro rider riding a 20 year old school master (highest was 70.3957)
- 26 scores in the 60s
- 12 scores in the 50s (the lowest was 51.400%)
My score sheet is posted below. Click to enlage.
Sunday’s rides tomorrow …