Ready? Me Either.
I knew Friday, Saturday and Sunday would be WAY easier than the first two days since all we really had to do was ride.
Friday was our PSG test and I felt pretty good about it. So good in fact, I kinda brained out in the warmup. I just wasn't really there for some odd reason. Coach was nice about it but I was pretty much a zombie and then when we entered the ring I was like oh hai. I guess I should ride now :)
There wasn't really anything I can say about the test except that it was accurate and boring. Correspondingly, we got an accurate and boring score: 55.933 . There just wasn't any pop in any part of the test and I place the blame on my brain that went on vacation randomly. I know people are supposed to get nervous or whatever in the ring; in front of three judges; in front of everyone but well, I don't. Sorry.
The rest of Friday was spent cleaning up Vana, ice boots, wrapping, struggle bussing through putting on some Equi Flex Sleeves (they're awesome), and other sundry things. Oh and napping. We napped the crap out of that afternoon in the RV. Again, this is SO exhausting for some reason!
After all the CDI rides for the day, they did an awards ceremony. Even though we had gotten 5th (out of 5), we were nipping there with the scores and still earned money. Naturally I was going to do the awards ceremony to get the "whole" experience (paid for it yo). Honestly... it was a blast. We got neck sashes, stood in line for the anthem (do I cover my heart with my reins? what do I doooo?), galloped around the main ring, and well, it was just silly fun!
Saturday was our last day of the CDI and I opted to use my whip in warmup AND to engage my brain. Thusly, Vana was super hot per normal and overreacting to my aids. Since he'd been cooped up in a stall since Wednesday, he was also fairly sore and tight so yeah, we were in for things. Our warmup was suspiciously decent and I didn't over think what that might mean. Why you might ask? We were about to do our first Intermediate test.
Except... well... I hadn't practiced it before actually RIDING it. In a recognized show. That was also a CDI.
Naturally I'd memorized the test, ridden it 5000000 times in my mind, had a plan, had all that going on in my head but we know this was not going to be a 100% effort but I was going in there to do battle. So halfway dragon and my fancy shad went in and we cantered up the centerline. He felt really good and I remembered to turn left (rather than right for the PSG test) and we got to work. Honestly, I like the I1 test better than the PSG test but things come up fast. Like whoa. It means I have to be in the moment and riding each step. Plus asking for FEI level gaits, plus, plus, plus, plus...
It's a lot to have going on in your head I promise.
Especially when you have never ridden the test before. Did I mention that?
Also, Vana was trying to curl like a beast in this thing so I was working my butt off to keep him out there. Sans whip.
Honestly it was a fun test and we were doing quite well and my brain was managing to not explode until we got to the second half of the trot tour where I ... extended the trot instead of half passing. Habits man. I pulled up asap as I knew my error and we were back on track for a pretty decent test the rest of the way through. So yeah, rider error. Oh and btw, rider error x 3 - 2% for each CDI judge. Word up!
The score for this test was a 53.789% which should bum me out I guess except man, it was our first time even riding this beast of a test and oh... if you add back in the 6% I would have gotten over a 60%. Whoop! This is just like when we cleaned up at 4th level but couldn't do the same at 3rd that same weekend. Harder things, we does them well.
After the I1 test I felt pretty good about ourselves. I mean sure we could have done better and we WILL so that's the best part. THIS is just the beginning for me and Vana is super happy and stoked to be doing ALL THE THINGS at the shows. We iced, walked, and hosed the snot out of him and his legs while we were still on lock down in the CDI area.
Sunday was the Open show for us as I wasn't doing a free style. We watched the freestyles that morning and well, some were good and some were... not. Obviously I'm not an expert at this level but I do know how to train horses to be happy and I do know what relaxation vs anxiety look like. I'm also familiar with what shut down looks like. Normally these people get decent scores so I was happy to see the CDI people ding them hard in their scoring across the board (57-60%) for a change. There is justice... just maybe not until international level competition ><
We were "just" doing PSG and it wasn't until early AM so I'd invited my husband and son to come up the previous evening and go out to eat plus breakfast. Naturally there was much napping still...
After the mid morning nap, we got up to start packing things and prepping for the PSG ride. I got to use my whip today in the ring and I knew this could go either way. It ended up a bit of both honestly ><
In the warmup, Vana was energetic but tired. Not sure that makes sense but that's what I had. He was curling sooo badly but still super responsive and light. This wasn't something I'd dealt with in some time and I'm sure he was a little sore but also tired from being cooped up. I worked on just posting the trot to get him up and out of my space to the best that we could. They called our number and we went off with fingers crossed.
The PSG test wasn't that bad, just hot. We did have a HUGE disagreement in the pirouettes though, specifically the second one where he started slapping the ground, I let him out for a correction, then tapped his outside right hind (not sure where it was 80% of the test honestly) and he LEAPED like a drunk dolphin for M. Oh and managed to change a lead upon landing which left us at... C. Without any counter canter or a change available. Yeahhhh.... so that was like a 4, then 3, then 1 with one of those being a double score. Ouch.
The rest of the test was much the same. Engaged but curling here and there. It was flashy, accurate, etc. We managed a 53.421% which honestly I was fine with. Without that debacle in the middle we should have cleared 60% easily. Again, not bad for being the first try at a recognized show for us.
I guess the main thing here was that we did it. Although honestly, that's not how I felt about it. I was definitely the rider with the least experience at FEI level (zero yo), the oldest horse, and just well, everything stacked against me and we still managed to look like not only that we belonged but that we're going to be some serious competitors soon. It's an amazing feeling coming off a show like that especially when I didn't have any expectations for the week except to learn. We learned that's for sure and we found out we're on our way!