So while the first test was barely mediocre, I was still incredibly excited for our second test of the day, Training Level Test 3. You would think that with a paltry 56% I'd be dreading the harder test of the level. I wasn't; that was the test for which I had actually prepared. Working in my favor was the fact that we did Test 1 at 10:33 a.m. while Test 3 wasn't until 12:29 p.m., nearly 2 hours later. A lengthy wait on a fairly warm day was exactly what Izzy needed.
I knew that I wouldn't need a very long warm up, and I was right. 20 minutes seemed to be all Izzy needed. He never put a foot wrong. he warmed up like a seasoned pro. I headed up to the ring confident that he would be able to do his job. He didn't disappoint.
Don't get me wrong. The test was just barely satisfactory earning a ... wait for it ... and NO, it wasn't a 59% ( I am getting a lot of those lately). We actually earned a 60.862%! For our very first attempt at Training Level. It took Speedy and I a while to crack the 60% barrier at that level. Yes, I am a more educated rider now, but Izzy is a much more difficult horse to pilot. Am I happy with the score? You betcha!
I truly enjoyed every minute of the ride. I felt no pressure to impress anyone. I rode him as though no one was watching. There was tension, there was giraffing, but there was also a lot of try on his part. Does he need a better connection? Absolutely. We're working on it. Even so, I am really proud of this horse. A lot of you have followed our journey from the beginning, so you know what it's taken to get him even this far (such as it is).
Not that it really matters to me what others think of my big brown horse, but it was heartwarming to hear so many oohs and ahhs. Seriously. Izzy earned himself some fans. There were more than a couple of people who had really nice things to say about him, and I don't think they were digging deep for something nice to say. I think they really meant it. Hard to believe, but it's true.
Even though other people liked Izzy, the judge wan't enamored with him. Not overly critical, just not in love. Most of the comments included words like could show more relaxation and tension. Yeah, I know. The judge did award us 7.0s for gaits on both tests though. Imagine what we could earn without any tension! Speedy has to work hard to get a 7.0 for his gaits. The judge also gave me 7.0s for my position and seat, not a score I always see. I get plenty of 6.0s for that.
I am really glad I let Speedy sit this one out. I knew Izzy was getting close to being ready to go out into the big wide world. Now I have something to build on. Speedy has some fall shows lined up; I haven't forgotten about the Bronze Medal, but I am also thinking about what I can do with Izzy next season. I now have to decide who to show and when. What a great problem to have!
So that's it. Not a wildly entertaining return to the show ring, but that makes me glad. We've had more than our share of fireworks. A plain old boring show day was just what I was hoping for. Here's the video if you can stomach five and a half minutes of really boring. The score sheet follows.
And now, onward to 2020!