The mission? Earn Third Level scores so we can move onward to PSG.
It didn't seem that hard and even Trainer this week couldn't find fault with our riding for that level (we already have our Fourth Level scores if you recall) but she warned us ominously to not practice 2 or 1 tempis and to not count our eggs until they hatched.
Luckily I'm familiar with this and Vana!Dragon so I went into the weekend with my test known, my riding tweaked, and Alex reading the test incase I blanked out or fell asleep. Oh and I entered the 3-3 regular class AND the Test of Choice 3-3 (after double checking with USDF that it would count) just to double our chances.
We arrived a touch later on Friday than we wanted and decided not to ride until the following day. I had an early ride time but whatever. We (wrote a million times all over our entries) asked to not have the boys stabled next to each other so they wouldn't be so attached (mostly Vana attached) and the show staff complied by having us at opposite ends of the huge tent barn.
Part of going to this show was because we wanted to check the place out. It's not everyday that you get to show at a resort and especially not in Houston. It was the facility's first time putting on a dressage show and they were fantastic. The Great Southwest has a more "show" vibe to it where everyone is hustling around and hanging out with their groups but this was just a nice resort feel from the competitor's dinner Friday night to the last prize giving on Sunday.
We had a few blips getting the RV in and parked but the show staff was again, super helpful and we soon had that hooked up and the husband was headed home. With the horses settled in, our group grabbed some food and settled in for the night.
The next morning was an early start for us and we hit the rings. I knew I didn't have anything too taxing for the weekend but kept my head about me as I warmed up Vana and headed to the main ring. As soon as we entered, he saw Alex in the caller's position and spooked. Then we spooked at flowers. Oh and something else. Oh and he suddenly realized where Simon was even though they hadn't called for each other in over 12 hours.
I had a dragon on my hands.
For the first extension I was honestly shocked we didn't get eliminated as I halted, regrouped, halted, tapped with my whip, and moved him onward. We may or may not have gotten some serious whip thrashes at K at one point. (He did).
Despite all his antics, I kept my cool and navigated us through the course willing to accept the 53%ish that I figured we'd gotten. Good thing we had 3 more rides, right? When we checked the scores it was a 59.872% (really?!) so I didn't know how to feel about that but we moved onward.
Sarah was showing at 2-3 and 1-3 and her first ride at 1-3 was rather umm... forward. She showed him well and they got an accurate score. It was the best in ring riding Sarah had done to this point so it was a good progress.
We had a lunch break and met with my mom who took us out to lunch and we decided to go to town. We made the delicious, but awful, choice to eat at this cool burger grill type place and we WAY overate. Just in time to hurry back and get back on my dragon for another round of sitting trot.
I'm honestly not too sure how I stomached through the course, but we rode an accurate test and I kept my lunch down. 65.641% like a boss. A barfy boss but our fifth bronze medal score was done. Off to coach Sarah and finish out the day.
I rewarded my team by taking them to Charlotte's Saddlery and then Dover Saddlery before taking them out to eat at Macaroni Grill. It was a relaxing and easy night that ended with us chilling out in the RV. Seriously, I love that thing.
The next morning was me on Vana again and even though I wasn't as mentally in it to win it, Vana picked up the slack (who IS this horse?!) a couple of times and we got a 67.308%. Boom, Bronze medal done.
Sarah had a bleh sort of day. She rode well but scored low. Basically she needed to "bring it" and really ride Simon despite him being really cooperative and nice. Chalk it up to more experience. It doesn't come overnight.
I had one more ride to do but we also had someone coming to try Simon at the show (he's for sale, remember?). I debated riding my last ride but honestly, we didn't need the score and I always have this "save your horse" type of mentality about Vana due to his age. I DID end up scoring 2nd in that 3-3 test that was against AA and Open riders though and my 67+% was the best score of the day. Heck yeah!
We met with the people to try Simon and while he was a rock star with the trainer and the client, he was basically not a packer that would barely walk and was "too" responsive and easy to ride. The trainer loved him but the accessibility of his aids was a bit overwhelming for the client.
With that, the show was over but it was a wonderful venue, lovely crew, and we accomplished our goals. Onward to PSG!