Saturday and Sunday I rode my para tests, hoping to get my final qualifying scores. Saturday I was entered in the Grade 3 Para Individual Test, needing to score above 63% or better to qualify for the Para Dressage National Championships.
There were actually two other para dressage riders at this show, so that was kind of fun. Saturday I did a different test though, so hard to compare scores. Zoey actually warmed up really well on Saturday, but I was a bit early and the ring was running a bit late. So we ended up having to chill for a while. My biggest challenge with Zoey is to keep her mind engaged so that she does not invent things to be afraid of or other ways to get out of work. So we ended up doing tons of transitions.
Test started out ok, Zoey kept looking toward the open door which now had noontime sun glaring down. So she was not as attentive as she should have been. Our trouble really started in the serpentine. The individual test is four loops – this being the first time I have ridden it in a 20mx40m ring at a show – those loops are small!! Add a walk transition in the middle and it is basically my nemesis anyway. Usually we are late on the transition and take too many walk steps. Not this day!! Instead, Zoey fooled me, thinking she was going to walk, then jigged across centerline and took off again. Our serpentine also has a coefficient of 2. Bummer. Our second leg yield was also nonexistent.
But, on the positive side, our walk movements were better than we have done, and the stretchy walk was actually decent.
Did I mention that the judge was also a 4* FEI Judge?
Well, she judged us like FEI level as well. My serpentine effectively made our score totally bomb – I got a 2 on that movement… so we scored a 61%. Not great. But trying to not feel too bad about it after hearing them announce many scores in the low 60s and 50s from the same judge. I lucked out when I went to the show office and asked if I could ride my test again the following day. They were more than willing to accommodate me. So I would get another shot on Sunday.
Saturday we got to watch some of the FEI musical freestyles in the coliseum. This music was my favorite. This is Julio Mendoza and Chardonnay. Sorry for the backs of people’s heads – I am short.
On Sunday, I tried to make sure I didn’t get on too early but didn’t want to be too late either. Was thinking Zoey would be more relaxed on the final day of the show. Thought wrong. She was ok during warm up, but I could tell she wasn’t doing a whole lot of listening. We spooked at the same corner by the doors again on our way around the ring. I tried not to be too nervous, but was anyway. On the whole, I think our centerlines and walk are improving. We have struggled so long on the leg yields, and the second one, to the left, was the best I have ever done at a show. We even scored an 8, so that was nice!!
Our turns on the haunches were a little meh. I try not to be too hard on Zoey, as we only learned to do them in like March or so. We sort of fumbled our way through the serpentine, but it was better.
After our second attempt at the individual test, we had two rides to wait and then our first ever freestyle! I had not been able to practice with my music much, so was not really sure how it was going to turn out. After a little communication issue with the announcer, they started my music and away we went.
I have myself walking into the ring and halting at what is that, D? This would be a good idea if I were better at halting from the walk than the trot, but I am not. Am considering revising that, since we scored a 6.5 instead of an 8 like the first test and, actually, the final halt in this test.
I also need to locate the quarterline if I am going to do 10m circles to them, as both my circles were way too big!!
But, all in all, I thought it went really well. I did music from Mary Poppins, and it was really fun. I think Zoey likes the music, and she really likes doing her medium trot up centerline.
We drove back late Sunday night, arrived in a deluge and discovered our house must have been hit by lightning as we had no water or a/c. Thankfully, the a/c got working that night and the water the following day. Next up: maybe Tryon in August, and then Tryon for the USEF Para nationals, provided everything keeps going well!