We had missed out on qualify for GAIG and SWDF at our two shows in August and September but that was alright. It's hard trying to qualify for ALL THE THINGS so I was happy to be chipping away at a plan while learning so much. The past weekend of showing had been a bit... something... so I went into this Thursday-Saturday combo with some new thoughts. The main theme was "Go Big or Go Home." There's no way I can get good scores without laying it all out there. The last weekend I'd played it safe and gotten well, safe scores. This time I was going to be brave, confident, and just DO ALL THE THINGS.
Not something I'm terribly good at when I know $500 in entry fees is on the line along with the pressure of trying to finish up our last 1st and both 2nd level bronze scores so I can send Vana into flying change land (aka his domain and happy place).
I told trainer this was my plan and she naturally agreed good naturedly that that was a great plan. Our first test on Thursday I had a plan y'all. We were going to do ALL THE THINGS and RIDE ALL THE THINGS. We made it to the first shoulder in where I... did a gorgeous renvers instead. It FELT so good after a bobble that I totes fixed in the corner before that I was all NAILING IT. But.. it felt off.. but no bell was rung so I faked it until I made it. Or rather, when the bell rang at the end of that movement.
My first rider error ever.
Now, this is me so I have NO idea what that means and so I'm thinking this is like -10 or something. So I go into RAWR do all the things mode and we just powered through the test. There were some really good moments, one moment where I felt like I was beating my horse for not doing a flying change during the counter canter (apparently I wasn't), and a few other things. But I was proud dammit. I'd SHOWN. Not just survived, not just ridden, I SHOWED!
So pleased with myself, we took our short break before our First level test and I bopped around killing time. I decided to check my score for fun and I stared at the board when it was a 63+%. Really, me? Umm... OMG YASSSSSS!!! (Apparently errors are only -2) Without that error we would have been either 1st or second in the class too!
Feeling pumped and oddly validated, I found Trainer and beamed stupidly at her. Again she was patient and congratulated me before I went to get my horse for round 2.
This time I was confident. Except Trainer couldn't read for my test. And I hadn't really reviewed this test since oh, August. I went into EMERGENCY STUDY mode and got into my warmup. Figuring so long as I didn't forget that stupid stretchy circle we'd be ok, Vana and I headed in.
Where I learned I had basically #tiredhorse
I convince Vana to participate JUST enough and we motored around the test. It didn't feel super awesome but it wasn't bad and we got another 64+% for our last First level score. Good old man! We also were in a tie for 3rd out of like a million horses so when we ended up in 4th place I was like woot!
The next day we did our Second Level test and Vana was a good boy like always. I was FINALLY figuring out how to cue him for his counter canter better while in the show ring but he was still a touch tired and we had a small fight over not flying changing so we scraped by with a 60+%. I believe this was the test where we got a "Bold!" comment for our second canter lengthening and I felt like a rock star. Moi? Bold? Yass! That was all we needed and scratched him from his First level test since Trainer agreed he looked a bit sluggish.
Final day was AWESOME since we didn't really need the score and I was told to ride it like 3rd level and do the prep for that. Our warmup was SO GOOD working on legit collected canter and Vana felt really good. At the end of the warmup a childish thought hopped in my head and I trotted over to trainer. Poor woman. I practically bounced as I realized after this we'd be 3rd level peeps and could we come do changes after our test. She thought a moment then granted me this "carrot" before we headed to our test.
This last try at 2nd level was much more consistent and while I had a few steering issues, it felt much more consistent overall and well, easier than anything else we'd ridden. Instead of feeling like SO MUCH was in the test, it was way more flow-y. We scored a 63+% and a first for the class. I also got a 7 for my position for the first time so all that core torture is finally paying off (although I still have to work on it even more).
Naturally Vana got loads of "talented horse" "powerful horse" "let the horse be awesome" comments so hopefully I can do justice for him as we keep moving up.
Oh and we went back into the warmup and nailed 6 flying changes. Old Man Vana was sooo happy.
October 2016 Autumn Classic/Regional Championships Test 2-3 (Saturday)