Even though I wasn't thrilled with how he warmed up, I went in with what I had. Our trot down the alley felt great, and I actually felt like we were improving as the test started which is a novel feeling for me. I was actually feeling good.
We started off with two sevens which confirms the feeling I had. We also earned a six for our left lead canter depart which is huge for us. The stretchy trot continues to be my nemesis; we earned a five. We rocked the free walk with a seven (!) and even got a decent working trot at C (six).
And then things went all to Hell. See photo just below. Most of the spectators sit in the bleachers on the right, or they sit along the long side just under those trees.
For unknown reasons, three "spectators," and I use that term with jaw clenched, decided to approach the dressage court from over the top of the berm through the foxtails all the while chatting loudly and toting armloads of stuff: a folding chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous hand-held items. They popped into view just as I approached "P" during my right circle at B.
I felt Speedy suck back and pop his nose into the air. I added tons of leg, but there was no way I could keep the right bend. In a VERY loud voice, I yelled, "STOP MOVING, please!" To their credit, they did stop moving, but the chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous items also froze in midair where they had been swinging along. This freaked Speedy out even more.
As I finished the circle at B heading back to A, I realized, in horror, that the spectators were still frozen with all items still hanging in the air in some weird version of Red Light/Green Light. Holy crap! I was able to get Speedy to pass, but it wasn't pretty. I circled at A and tried to develop a right lead canter in the second half of the circle. Uh ... yeah ... nope. Speedy started and sputtered and moved his four legs in anything but a nice 1, 2, 3 canter rhythm. I finally gave up and just got him by them again, for the third pass. They were STILL frozen in place!
Our trot down the center line is one of our strengths so I did my best to pull him together for one last chance to salvage the ride. It must have worked because the judge gave us a six for our effort. We halted, I saluted, and then my lower lip started to tremble as tears threatened. We left the arena as my new "friends" bumbled their way to their seats. As I exited at A, the next rider gave me a that really sucked comment and then followed it with an atta girl, you handled that really well.
I moped my way back to the trailer still fighting tears. I popped Speedy's halter on and made sure his hay and water were within reach. Then I boohooed my way into the trailer and quickly dialed Cha Ching's mom for an attitude adjustment. She knew just what to say, Damn those insensitive people!, and within minutes I had a smile back on and was ready to go ride test 2.
Here is the Training Level, Test 1 score sheet. Our trouble started at movement 10. Check out the judge's comment, distracted at P. Yeah, ya think?! Final score was a 57.500% Click images to enlarge.