Basically, the whole show was pretty amazing. I've watched the videos, and I don't look amazing, but Speedy sure does. It finally looks as though he is excelling in spite of me. Go for it, Speedy. It's about time you started pulling your weight!
We were riding against some pretty nice horse and rider teams, so I am more than happy to score in the same ball field as they did. Yeah, it's a last place score, but it's better than we did a month ago. And frankly, the third test at First Level is HARD. It does not flow in an organized, or logical way.
It's Frankenhacked together if you ask me. After the halt, you track left into a lengthened stride at trot, followed by a leg yield to X and a leg yield back to the rail. That's fairly reasonable, but then immediately after, there's a stretchy trot circle followed by a ten-meter circle at R, a halt at X, and then another ten-meter circle at V.
After those two trot circles (with a free walk to separate the trot and canter), the canter work begins which flows somewhat better. It's a 15-meter canter circle into a canter lengthening followed by a single canter loop from K-X-H (that's from one corner to the middle back to the other corner for you non-dressage types).
As you finish that first loop, you have to reorganize quickly for the change of lead through trot at X. We messed that up big time. Speedy just couldn't/wouldn't pick up the left lead (4.0). Once you change leads, you do another 15-meter canter circle, a canter lengthening, and then the same loop - but on the other side.
The canter work makes sense to me, but it's a lot of cantering all in a row. The part of this test that I really hate is that the last movement is a trot lengthening across the whole diagonal. By the time we get to this part of the test, Speedy is starting to lose his oomph, and I am definitely breathing hard.
While it might not have been as impressive somewhere else, on this day, the judge liked our trot lengthening and rewarded our effort with an 8.0! I'll take it! For what it's worth, ignore what I am doing up there and focus on the gray pony. He's the only one who seems to know what he's doing out there.
I am not Charlotte Dujardin, and Speedy's no Valegro, but hey, we're getting around the court in a respectable manner. My goals for this summer are small, but we are meeting them. And you never know, we might even exceed them!