I wish I could say that our own rides earned such a good score, but alas, our old enemies, canter depart and stretchy circle, both got the better of us again. Even so, if you look at my scores, we were on track for a 60%, but during the middle of our free walk, the equestrian center's tractor dumped a big load of manure into a large metal can and Speedy went from relaxed, swinging walk to full-on gallop. It cost us a two-point deduction for going off course, and I am certain we lost at least a half point on submission. The noise was no excuse for bolting. This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately. This is the third show in a row where he has spooked hard enough to cause us to lose points. By the way, I gathered up my reins lickety-split, made a small circle, and returned to the track where I let the rein back out with no further tension. At least he got over the spook really quickly.
I am not disappointed with the test. We scored many 6s, and while there were no 7s, there were also no 4s. And considering that Speedy G was high as a kite and seriously tense, I was pleased that I was able to get him through the test without scores lower than the two 5s. I just kept telling myself to add more inside bend and inside leg in order to reduce the spooks that were just waiting to happen. As much as Speedy wanted to rocket right out of the arena, I was able to make it through the corners and keep him under control. But according to the judge's comments, I still didn't have enough inside bend.
I think back to where I was last summer and know beyond a doubt that we are steadily improving. Do I think we have a chance of placing at this weekend's Regional Adult Amateur Competition? Nope, but we're going anyway. My goal is to have fun and just see how we stack up against the riders from the middle third of California. Maybe we won't be terrible. We might even look decent. I'll let you know!
Here is the score sheet. Second test is coming tomorrow. Click to enlarge.