Here's the video.
Third Level is certainly proving to be a challenge. Not that I am surprised. We have yet to sail through any of the levels easily. I am not frustrated by our pace though. In fact, after last weekend's show, I am a bit encouraged.
Our recent internet interruption meant that I couldn't share how we did at the recent CDS-rated show in Tehachapi. Before doing that show, I had accepted the fact that I wasn't going to earn my Bronze Medal this year, nor was I going to qualify for my favorite show of the year, the Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC). And frankly, I was okay with that.
It's no secret that we are clearly a "developing" Third Level team. Our scores prove it. In our defense, we've only been showing at this level since June. And as everyone already knows, I am not one of those who show a level below what I am schooling. I'd never get anywhere with that approach. Instead, I school it at home, and then show it to the judge. I rely on the judge to let me know in which areas I need to focus.
My parents, whom I haven't seen in a really, really long time, decided to visit for this show weekend. Surprisingly, I wasn't at all worried about them driving 500 miles only to witness a train wreck of a show. My stepmom reads my blog enough to know that we're struggling. Entering at A with a well-groomed and neatly braided horse was enough to put a smile on her face. I wasn't so sure about my dad. He did ask if he could hang my ribbon in his billiard's room though so maybe he thought the whole thing was actually better than watching paint dry. In any case, they didn't make me nervous at all. In fact, maybe they gave us a reason to shine.
Before I rode my first test, we sat through a couple of other rides as I explained to my parents the basic dressage rules, the layout of a dressage court, and what they should be looking for when I rode. I have to give them credit; they truly listened and seemed interested in understanding the sport. And we all know how boring it can all seem to an uneducated audience.
Our first test of the day, Third Level - Test 1, rode better than any other test this year. I always know when I am finally getting the directives when I feel like the test is going in slow motion. Does anyone else experience that sensation? When I first start a level, the movements seem to come hurtling at us in fast forward. Not this test. I actually felt like I was able to prepare for each movement.
My husband went and collected the score sheet, something he's never done before. When he asked me what score would make me happy, I rolled my eyes and said any score in the 60s would be awesome. I think he might have been more proud of that 63% than I was.
I was really excited about our score sheet. The judged awarded us a 63.243%. We had one single score below a 6.0, a 4.0 for the first flying change. The judge noted that it was late behind. Aside from that score, the rest were really good. We earned a 7.5 for our collected trot down centerline and a 7.0 for our final centerline. We earned three additional 7.0s for our halt to rein back, a 10-meter canter circle, and best of all, a 7.0 for our second flying change. Insert huge first pump for that sucker.
Having that 60%-plus score gave me a real sense of accomplishment. It wasn't a USDF score, but it did count for a lot of other programs within my own GMO, the California Dressage Society (CDS). Every perceived success, no matter how small, gives just that little bit of momentum toward the next effort.
Here's the video.
Not to spoil things for you, but the second test wasn't nearly as good as the first one. It wasn't terrible, but we fell just three points shy of a 60%. I'll tell you that story tomorrow.