LVDA II at Heart's Journey Stables
|Supposedly there was a photographer at this show, but I've never had any luck actually having him take pictures of me, so you get a cute trailerside shot of the Wonder Pony.|
Both horses, for whatever reason, were tense as tightropes getting ready that morning. Dino was so tight and worked up that at one point he started shivering, so I threw his BOT sheet on once he was clean and groomed to help him relax. Thankfully it did the trick, and he softened up within a few minutes with the sheet on, and by the time we arrived at the show he was his usual chill self. His overly dramatic chestnut TB friend just Could. Not. Even. for reasons only known to him, but thankfully he also settled and was able to put in a great test for his rider.
Unfortunately for me, Dino seemed to have used up all of his energy being tense and worried at the barn before we left, and when I got on to start warming up, he was pretty much ready for a nap.
That is not the feeling I like to have before heading in for a test.
I did my best to get him thinking and moving forward in the warm-up, and when the ring steward told me I could go early because of a couple scratches, I declined and told her I'd go at my scheduled time. I needed every precious minute to try and get Dino revved up. When I couldn't forestall it any longer, we headed in for our test, Dino feeling much more behind the leg than I'd prefer.
And despite feeling like I had very little energy to work with, we put in a solid test. Overall, our scores were MUCH better than last time, with the high point being a 7.5 for our first centerline, and our lowest score a 5.5 for the stretchy trot circle. With Dino being so behind the leg, he really didn't stretch down until the last third of the circle, but I felt the score was fair.
Despite feeling like he wanted to stop and take a nap at any moment during the test, Dino was SO good and SO obedient. Sure, he lacked energy and thrust, I had to do a lot more kicking than is preferable, and our lengthenings were barely-there, but he Did All The Things for me even though he would rather have been snoozing at the trailer. The rest of our scores were very respectable 6's and 6.5's, accented with 7's for our second canter depart and last centerline. He never broke gait, he never said no, he just did his job like the superstar he is, even though the whole thing lacked flair.
We earned a very respectable 63.103% for our second go at 1-1 this year, improving our final score by 3 points. The judge was also very encouraging, praising the way I rode accurately "picking my line and sticking to it", and said that all I needed from Dino was a little more gas in the tank for better scores. I couldn't agree more, and while I was a little disappointed that this test wasn't our best, I left the show feeling motivated to keep improving.
My next 'big' goal is to get a handle on 1-3, and see if we can squeak out the 60% needed to qualify for the local GMO's championship class. The test intimidates me a little bit, but if we keep this upward trajectory going, I think we can do it!