My first test did not start off with a bang. Well, at least not a good one. Phoenix tried to go on auto-drive as soon as we halted. He put his nose in the air and turned sideways. Yikes. Not the first impression I was hoping for. I took a deep breath and told myself that the first centerline is just 10 points and no big deal. I wanted to pause for a moment to make sure our transition out of the halt was good. Phoenix didn’t really like that idea. He was a total wiggle worm as soon as he started to walk (mind you you are supposed to go from the halt to the trot so that already was not so good). He was taking advantage of the fact that I was worried about correcting him with my leg. I thought he would break and so I kept my nagging leg instead of making a good, clean correction. My mistake.
He went from shoulders in to haunches in and back several times. We had no straight in that first trot. Even our circle was not so accurate and we had moments of being counter bent. You can see me working really hard to slow the rhythm down. Not so successfully I might add. I think it was because when I would slow down I would accidentally bump him with my seat. So he thought it was time to canter. And I would have to catch him before he cantered every time and he would put his head up. It is kind of funny to watch the two of us playing off each other. He wants to go fast and I want him to listen to me, but only when I am asking the right thing. Poor pony.
And yes, I did run him into the canter to the left. And yes, he did 4 beat his canter right before he broke. Yes, Phoenix broke at the canter. I felt him four beating but I just couldn’t correct him in time. To the right his trot was not so good. My lesson the night before his Owner and I really worked on me not being so obvious about when we are making a mistake. Watching that I am not sure how good we did at that 😛 His canter right looked good though, like he just needs more strength and to come from behind. And finally, at the very end of the test I got Phoenix’s nice trot. It was only for half a long side and the center line, but it was in there and that was good enough for me. The judge said he looked a little green, but also said that we had a lot of potential. I thought that was nice of her to talk to me after the test. She made me laugh when she said that it was okay that we made mistakes because being perfect isn’t as fun. Considering the test as a whole was not so good she really made me smile and leave the ring on a good note.
I left the ring and was literally called up to do my 2nd test. They were running ahead in that ring. I took a deep breath and smiled. Was that first ride a winning test. No. Not a chance. Was that test a pretty accurate representation of where we are right now? Yup. I had another chance to do better and so I decided to wipe the last test from my mind and go up to start over again.
To Be Continued…and yes…I am enjoying the fact that most of you just groaned that I am not done writting about this show yet. I think it is better to do it in chuncks because no one wants to read a 10,000 word post all at once!