First Level introduces only a few new movements, most of which I've been schooling during the summer. That doesn't mean I am schooling them correctly though. We need to be able to do ...
- a 10-meter half circle at trot without the motorcycle lean
- a 15-meter canter circle that is not an oval
- a lengthening of stride in trot and canter (it doesn't say it has to be HUGE)
- A leg yield that isn't a zig-zag
- a change of lead through trot which we haven't schooled at all
- the counter canter loop which we've been doing for a solid six months
First Level Test 1 is relatively easy, and I say that with the utmost respect. As the test is written right now (new tests are due in 2015) each movement follows in a well thought out progression that seems to be setting the rider up for success. None of the new movements are back to back and they are spaced out with a walk or a working trot.
I like the E-X half circle left into the X-B half circle right. It's much easier to do on a small horse like Speedy G than on a larger warmblood. Getting my geometry right is the hard part for us since I don't have a real court. We are practicing it though.
The stretchy circle is now at C, right in front of the judge. Since working with Chemaine at the championship show I am feeling better about that movement, so it's not a big deal.
The next new movement is the 15-meter canter circle, but again, it's a little easier to do on a smaller horse, and it's really just the geometry that I need to focus on. Speedy can do the circle; I just have to watch where we're going.
Speedy likes to lengthen the canter. Getting him smoothly back into a working canter is something we need to continue to work on.
Our trot lengthening is non-existent, but I can feel it in there. Speedy LOVES to trot across the diagonal and naturally wants to zoom. I just need to show him how to zoom without moving his legs faster!
We have about three weeks until the schooling show. I am not anxious about moving to First Level; instead I am looking forward to trying something new.