I've only been home from this weekend's Southern California Equestrian Center show for a day or two. Like I said yesterday, I should be more excited about having earned my Bronze Medal scores. If winning ribbons, trophies, and medals were my ultimate goal, I would be thrilled. I've come to realize though that is not what motivates me. What keeps me going is knowing that I can always make things better. That I need to make things better, cleaner, sharper, more confirmed. So when I watched the 3-1 test yesterday, I cringed at my mistakes, noting what needs improvement and thinking about how to make that happen.
Before I rip apart where we're making our biggest mistakes, I was really pleased by some of the movements, and I can definitely see how much we've improved since last fall. Our walk pirouettes are getting quite nice and have turned into an opportunity for easy points. On test one we earned a 6.0 and a 7.0. On test three we bumped those up to a 7.0 and an 8.0. They're easily a strength. Our centerlines have always been good - we earned a 6.5 and a 7.0 on this test, and our shoulder-ins are coming along nicely - 6.0 and 6.5.
Our medium and extended trots weren't as good as they can be, but I had tweaked my back earlier in the week, and it was killing me over the weekend. That tightness in my back came through on the test and showed in our scores, 6.0 and 5.5. The first real mistake that I made on this test was in the 10-meter half circles after the shoulder-ins. My geometry was way off, and I am not sure why. That should have lowered my half pass scores, but fortunately, the judge either couldn't see it or it didn't influence her scoring.
Our biggest mistake though, and I am blaming Speedy a bit for this one, is our left to right flying change. I can get those nice and neat at home, but that is the one that gets sticky at a show. On Sunday he flipped me the bird when I asked. On Saturday, he tried to fake me out with a little jump in his canter, but he didn't actually change. In the video you can see me lean over to check (about 5:20 in the video). By the time I got it sorted out, we were on the rail when I got the change which left us with a 5.0 and the comment "not on aids."
Even though we "only" scored a 60.676%, I am not disappointed. The two tests on Saturday were definitely improved overall when compared to last year, and that's all I can really ask for. Here's the video with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, offering some quiet, and sometimes funny, feedback as she recorded the test.
Third Level Test 3 tomorrow ...