By the time we pulled into the fair grounds on friday afternoon, the temperature had dropped from a sweltering 88 (yeah, I know, suck it up) to a chilly 65 degrees. I had not anticipated that... Should have brought a jacket! At least camping out in my tin can wouldn't be too warm.
I had a fairly good warm up ride. Delight was alert, if a little hot, but there were no rodeo pony moments or whoastorms, so I put her away to settle in with her hay (that horse can pack away the groceries! She went through two bales of hay in two days!). I cleaned my tack while Delight chewed contentedly on her dinner. Much to my surprise, I had red paint on the heel of one of my boots... Guess I haven't done much tack cleaning in the last week if the paint from the jump I hit is still on my boot!
After a restful, if cold, night in my trailer I was up and at'em around 5:30 (thank goodness from that time change). Plenty of time to get Delight braided, clean the stall, and get changed into my while breeches before my 8:15 ride.
|Don't worry, Delight. This angle is actually slimming.|
Of course, Delight's braid job would have looked better had Tilly not groomed off about 4" towards the middle of her neck....
My first test was Training level test three and it went off without an issue to earn a 65%. I was not thrilled with a 65%, but then my expectations may be too high. I mean, two years ago, I would have been thrilled with anything over a 63% but now that I'm a professional I'm holding myself to the same standards that my former trainers were at. Fair? Maybe not, but it is what it is.
My second test was at 10, first level test three. 61%. There were some bobbles, and I knew at the time that it wasn't going to qualify. So day 1 was pretty much a wash, and over by 10:15 in the morning. After giving Delight a well deserved bath and letting her graze as I watched tests, I put her away and made the 30 mile drive to the beach where I grabbed dinner and ate and read a book while sitting with my toes in the water. It made me feel more like a normal 20-something when I can say "yeah, I went to the beach this weekend, what did you do?". Beach sitting seems a little more relate-able than "Oh, I drove 200 miles to a dressage show with my German Riding Pony".
|Beach Pony or Arena Pony? You decide.|
I started my day with first level test three again in a futile attempt to get at least one qualifying score. 63%, so we improved, but not enough. The odd thing is that test was the best test Delight had all weekend. She was with me, over her back and really obedient and responsive, so I was surprised that it scored as low as it did. Obedient is all fine and dandy, but evidently they want more power, so back to the practice pen.
My training level test was similar to my first level test. We didn't have any mistakes or bobbles and the test flowed smoothly. I was not expecting a great score after picking up my first level test, so imagine my surprise when we qualified with a 70.8%. Woohoo! Finally!
We got an 8 for submission and an 8 for "harmony between horse and rider", and only a 7.5 for rider, so there's room for improvement. Judges comment: All business.
|Would you look at those coefficients? Pony Con Fuego!|
Now I just have to get better at first level.... And get more stretch down in the free walk and stretchy trot.