I can't decided whether the RAAC left me feeling elated, I got to go to a seriously fun show and I walked away some with really awesome prizes, OR did it leave me feeling like the world's worst rider? I think that for right now, I am feeling more disappointment than happiness, but in a day or so, I'll probably forget about the more humbling aspects of the show.
So where do I begin? A few pictures, crummy as they are, of the wonderful grounds might be appropriate. Click images to enlarge.
It turns out that even though I met my goals, I was still very disappointed with my scores. The judges were fair; there was no breed bias. We just have a long way to go. I didn't know it when I wrote those goals, but I very much wanted to be competitive, and I wasn't okay with finishing dead last. I'll post my score sheets over the next few days, but to show you that I actually met my riding goals, here are my canter and stretchy trot scores:
- Day 1: T3 - left lead canter: 6.5 with no bucking, right lead canter: 6, no bucking. Stretchy trot: 5.
- Day 1 T2 - left lead canter: 6 with no bucking, right lead canter: 5.5, no bucking. Stretchy trot: 5.
- Day 2 Intro C - right lead canter: 6. left lead canter 7.
- Day 2 T3 - left lead canter: 6 with no bucking, right lead canter: 6, no bucking. Stretchy trot: 5.
As disappointed as I am with earning scores in the high 50s while my competition earned scores that were 10% higher, I have to keep reminding myself that I have only been working consistently with a trainer for one year. Before I started dressage, I had never ridden in an English saddle (except for a few lessons as a small child), I didn't know how to post on the correct diagonal, and I was riding an endurance horse who was never trained to travel with contact.
This weekend showed me that our trot work is doing fine and can only get better. Our canter departures have improved dramatically; just a month ago we were earning 4s. Our actual canter work now needs to go under the microscope. You can bet that this winter Speedy and I will be cantering our butts off. For next year's RAAC, I want to feel confident that we can break into the top five.
More tomorrow ...