I forget to mention how happy I was with Speedy when we got back from the show. It was just getting full dark, but he really likes a quick turnout when he unloads from the trailer so I unloaded and walked him straight to the arena. Speedy barely cleared the gate before he halted abruptly and took a good long pee. Then he ambled for a bit before finding a deep, sandy place in which to roll. Once in his stall, he took a HUGE drink of water, sighed deeply, and dug into his dinner.
Wendy and Mea, the owners of the haflingers, were both very impressed with how quietly Speedy hung out at the trailer, even when he was left alone. I am always impressed with how good he is at the trailer. If he has a pal with him, forget it. He's always best when he's alone. Go figure.
I wasn't able to stay late enough to catch the rest of the training level and above tests or scores, but from what I saw from the Intro scores, this judge was a wee bit tough.
And then things went to hell. AGAIN. We had a similar problem in Tehachapi last month. Speedy picked up the canter between A & K (I thought it was going well) and then we circled at E. Just as we were finishing the circle, he spooked at ... nothing ... and refused to canter forward to C. Instead, he lunged right and we weaved back and forth until we got through the corner. The judge gave him a .......... 2. And since I COULD NOT get him to canter past that scary spot, we couldn't transition to trot at C, which we were already doing poorly, which earned us a 4.
After the debacle at the corner, I trot past the judge and ... you have to know what's coming. I forgot where I was in the test. I halted, took a breath, and remembered that I needed to do a stretchy trot at B. Yeah, if we have trouble with that when I am prepared, imagine how awkward it was going to be at M knowing that I needed a stretch within just a stride or two. We didn't get it. Score ... 4, with an additional 2 point deduction for going off course.
That whole section of the test cost us, at the very least, 8 points. And my trot up the centerline, normally one of our strong points, earned a measly 5, another two points that I should have had easily. Even with the really rough ending, I came out of the arena with a big smile. Several people who watched the test said it looked perfect until the spook at the end.
The judge also liked most of the ride. Here are her further remarks: "Good start. Improved energy until disobedient at end. Generally liked the trot work. Improve [unclear] and lateral bending in canter work."
On the positive side, Speedy earned a 7 for gaits although he got nailed again for confidence, 5. We also earned another 6 for our left lead canter and a 5 for the right. Those scores are a definite improvement over the 4s we were earning earlier in the season. When you check out the score sheets, down below, you'll see that from the start all the way through movement 9 that we were on track for a 60%. Those last four movements got us though so we ended up with a 55.600%.
My new motto, the rider's goal should be improvement, not perfection, was in play for the day. I didn't beat myself up over the errors and in spite of some really awkward moments, I enjoyed myself immensely!
Click images to enlarge.