I am many things, but a quitter is not one of them. Even though I wanted to give up, I knew I couldn’t. Not only is it rude to the judge, especially since it was not a safety issue, but it is unprofessional. I needed to finish what I started, no matter how ugly it looked. One of the judges comments in my first test was that I didn’t let go during the free walk, so I just let it all go in the second test. I was playing a mental game with myself that when I picked up the reins again we would be starting over. A whole new test. I was determined to let go of the bad stuff in the hopes of finishing strong.
So those of you who know training 1 (or who watched the video yesterday and are very observant) know that I made a mistake on my test. A big one. The judge was so dazzled by my free moving horse at the free walk that she didn’t catch it right away either. So what did I do? I did both of my canter series to the left! Instead of going across the diagonal I did two short diagonals. Opps! The good news is that I got an instant do over on my left canter, and that I am not using the test for anything so I could care less if the test counts or not.
Minus a head toss in the upward, my out of control right arm, and having to go sideways to the downward again the second canter was much better, and I felt much more in control. I smiled my first real smile of the day to my last center line. Was the test beautiful? Not even close. Was it embarrassing? A little. Was it the best test I have done yet with Lucky at training level? YES! I was glad that Boomerang and My Trainer had not let me quit. Lucky and I still have a long, long way to go, but for the first time all year it actually felt possible that we could actually do this someday.
Considering we were blocking everyone in I untacked Lucky in record time and loaded her back up. With only being 15 minutes from home I knew I could give her a real shower and let her relax at home instead of hanging around the show. They did score my Intro C test already so I knew before I left that I had gotten a 59.25%. Since I was the only person in the class I ended up in 1st place 😛
I learned a lot from this show though. I learned I need to shorten my reins, when they are long I bump her in the mouth. I need to get better brakes on my horse at home because having minimal breaks at a show just isn’t any fun. I also learned I need to get a new show coat. I can’t find mine and a tucked in polo is just not flattering on my plus size self! Lucky and I have a long way to go before we are ready for training level at a show again. This show gave me a tiny bit of hope though.
When I went back to pick up my second test I was thrilled to finally break 60%. Sure, the judge was kind, but I need kind right now!! Lucky and I ended up with a 61.46% for 4th out of 6 in our training level 1 test. I also learned that, for now at least, I need friend support at a dressage show. I needed both My Trainer and Boomerang there to push me when I needed to be pushed. Plus having Boomerang there means I got a video of my issues with Lucky, which is something I needed. Even though it feels worse than terrible, it doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as I thought it did.
I went home feeling satisfied and content in my decision to take a little break from showing dressage. We might have a lot to fix, but at least now I feel like we CAN fix everything. We might not have dazzled, but we didn’t humiliate either, and for now that is plenty good enough.