Since I had felt like Speedy was kind of running off with me for the first test of the day, I decided to get a better hold and really ride him like I know how. The results were not quite what I was hoping for. Some elements rode very well, while a few others just fizzled. Can anyone say what stretchy trot?
After completing the second test, I approached the judge for her feedback. As I knew she would, she started off with what went well. She complimented us on our rhythm (that's a huge improvement over last year) and felt that Speedy and I made a very harmonious pair. She also said that we are definitely on the right track. Her suggestions were to improve the bend (totally agree with that). She also suggested I try not to over-ride. I totally understood what she meant, but isn't that what makes showing more difficult than riding at home?
I had a long chat with JL about the show after my lesson on Monday. We went over the tests and discussed my frustration with never feeling that we've done a good job. She suggested that I go to the show not hoping to do better than I do at home (well, duh - why didn't I think of that?), but instead, focus on doing half as well as we do at home. I know that sounds like a really, really low bar to strive for, but the idea makes good sense, especially for an overachiever like myself.
Showing is really hard. Riding at home isn't. How can I expect to perform better in front of a judge than I do at home? Why does my bar have to be higher than everyone else's? She pointed out that we ALL ALWAYS drop a level (not a dressage level, just a performance level) when we show. if we recognize that before going in, we're less likely to be disappointed. Hmm.
Definitely a new way to look at things. Had I approached the show with that attitude, I would be whoo-hooing out right now and probably doing a wildly, stupid-looking happy dance about my good scores instead of bemoaning the fact that Speedy didn't stretch or that he was ignoring my outside rein as we made the corner to C.
My next show is in March. It's a CDS/USDF/USEF two-day show. Here's to doing half as well as we do at home. Please come and wave a foam finger for me!
The Training Level Test 3 score sheet is below. Click images to enlarge.