So with all the snow that we have been having in my area I have totally turned into a hermit. The upside with spending extra time at home is that I finally got a chance to look at the new USDF tests! I have been reading lots of complaints about how much harder the tests are this year in comparison to last year and I have to say that at first glance I totally agree. Unlike most people though I think that is a good thing.
So I pick up First Level Test Three for a look over. I start to panic because right off the bat there are letters that I am not used to seeing. Where the heck is R? And S? So at that point I couldn’t even read through the test because I was so panic-stricken and self defeating right off the bat. What was I thinking? I have no idea what I am doing and should not even be looking at this test. I am a horrible rider and sucks at dressage and this is one big giant fail.
So I walked away for a bit before I suddenly remember that I made myself learn all the letters a few winters ago, duh. Call Mr. Rogers Before People Forget All Kinds View Every Single Horse. So I get out a piece of paper and make a fake arena with CMRBPFAKVESH around the edges, take a deep breath and look at the test again.
As I read through the test the panic lessons. The Schoolmaster and I can do extensions at the trot and canter. We can handle 15 meter circles, maybe this wont be so bad at all. Then I get to the leg yield with a 10 meter circle. Forget. I have decided that can’t do that. There is no way I can do that. I put down 1-3 and felt like a failure. I texted my trainer saying that I am just not good enough to do 1-3 and I told her why. She texted back with a little reminder that not only can I do it, but I have done that and done it well. My first lesson back on the Schoolmaster after a month off was filled with things that were even harder than a leg yeild to a circle.
I had forgotten all about the lateral movement to 10 meter to lateral movement exercises we did. So I took a deep breath and went back to the test and this time I make it all way through the test, but there is one movement that I know is really going to be an issue. The Schoolmaster has a hard time changing bend in the canter as well as counter cantering. I get the impression that he doesn’t think he can do it. I am not sure if there was always an issue with it (could be…his owner did give him up to my trainer after all) or if he really is just not balanced in the canter (he doesn’t feel that way, but you never know). There is a bending line at the canter in 1-3. That is going to be an issue.
So me being me I throw my hands up in the air and say that I can’t handle this test and I don’t want to show anymore. I tell my trainer the issue and she reminded me that I don’t have to go out 1-3. DUH! Why didn’t I think of that!?!? She also said that it is very early in the year and since show season runs through October in my area there is a very good chance that the Schoolmaster and I can fix the issue before the end of the year. Why do I constantly mentally block myself in? She is so right. I don’t even have to show first level if I don’t want to. So I set about looking at the other tests to see where I thought the Schoolmaster and I could be successful in the show ring. Looking at the other tests is a story for another day. I just think it is so funny that a stupid dressage test can cause me such emotion! Anyone else out there like that or is this just a me thing? And for the record I know deep down that I can do a 1-3 test…and I actually could probably do okay in it bending line and all right now. I have just lost my show ring confidence along the way.