I worked hard to show more bend in the loops, but the judge still felt that we needed more "clear change of bend." And the stretchy trot gave us trouble again (we scored a 5). It comes at a really challenging point for us in this test, which was no doubt deliberately done by the test designers.
For Test 3, the stretchy trot comes at B rather than at A where you're already making a circle. When Speedy hits the long side, he is focused on trotting with forwardness and straightness. I need to start thinking about how to better prepare him for the turn at B while still allowing him to stretch forward and down.
It was a bit of a disappointment to earn a 5 on our second to the last movement of the show. We almost went without a 5. Sigh ... The only good thing about the 5 was that we followed it up with a lovely 8 for our final halt of the show. Not a bad way to end. Our final score was 64.000%
I can't be anything but ecstatic about our scores: 66.429%, 65.000%, 66.071%, and 64.000%. These scores would suggest that we are very close to demonstrating that "the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit." This is the purpose of the Training Level Tests.
Even with good scores, I go back and forth from being paralyzed with fear - What if I just got really lucky and go back to "normal" for our next show? to being more realistic. Our scores have done nothing but rise steadily all year. These scores are definitely a reflection of what we've learned over the past year.
So now I just have the RAAC next weekend to worry about. We'll be back at El Sueno, but it's going to be a much bigger show, more than 75 horses have already been entered, with more pressure to to do well. I am going to work really hard to keep in mind what I learned during Friday's warm-up: ask and encourage rather than nag and force.