Those scores mean that I have completed the necessary requirements for the USDF Training Level Rider Performance Award which requires four scores at or above 60% from four different judges. We’re now also qualified for the California Dressage Society’s Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) which will be held at El Sueno this summer. RAAC requires three scores over 60% from two different judges. I was thrilled to see those two above 60% scores posted!
Both of my rides were rather late in the day (2:27 and 3:37) which meant that I had plenty of time to watch other riders complete their tests as well as visit with some of the riders that I have met at previous shows. I’ve learned to take it easy at two-day shows. There is no reason to rush, and there is a lot to learn by watching more experienced riders.
Quick interrupt: I am writing this at the show. Some neighbors, who are also camping, had some trouble with their microwave and were looking at a very cold supper. They took a chance that I might be friendly and tapped at my door. I am so glad they did, as I was thrilled to be able to “pay it forward” by heating up their dinner for them. So many people let me camp with them, use their showers, or stay in their trailers when I was starting out in endurance. It was great to help this pair out!
I have learned that Speedy doesn’t need much of a warm up, and if I do warm up too long, he gets resentful and cranky, so I kept it to a minimum. I walked him for 5 minutes, did a little trot work, and asked for one or two canter transitions. We were done in 12 minutes. I hadn’t planned on the warm up being that quick, but I knew better than to ask for any more. Even though we had 15 minutes to wait, I chat with the ring steward, walked a bit more, and then walked over to the dressage court to wait my turn.
It wasn’t a perfect test by any stretch, but I knew it was good for us. There were no obvious mistakes, and no moments where I felt we had really blown it. The stretchy trot, our long time nemesis, wasn’t great, but there was at least something resembling a stretch. The judge rewarded Speedy’s effort with a 6. We had no 4s on the test, and the lowest mark was a single 5.5 for our left lead canter. He picked up the correct lead and felt prompt, but he resisted the inside bend. We earned four 7s for the directives (count ‘em!), and a 7 for gaits. Everything else was a 6 or 6.5. Not too shabby.
You knew there had to be one. No one who has read this blog would think that I’d be satisfied with just reporting the good; there is always something to be learned. I screwed up my courage and asked a rider that I know if she’d be willing to take a few photos of our ride. The photos revealed a few unpleasant things that I need to fix. The judge commented a few times that Speedy’s head tilts and that my hands were sometimes too high. The photos confirmed this. She also dinged me for his head wagging. This is definitely something that I need to work on once we’re back at home. It’s completely my fault for sure. I do not have a good feel for even contact. If I ask on the inside, I drop the outside and vice versa, which creates a head wag. Several photos reveal that my right hand is higher than my left, which would definitely explain the head tilt.
So thanks to Jen, here are some photos of out first ride.