The show went better than I had hoped. My trainer forced me to focus on riding to set up each stride. We worked on keeping my forearms relaxed so Ava wouldn’t have anything to brace against. And sitting back and sitting tall.
When I get nervous, I like to revert to fetal position. 😉
I was so proud of Ava! The few times at the beginning when she did get worked up, I ignored her antics and asked again, and after that she went right to work. Every time I asked for a big effort, she gave it! Even when she was exhausted. It was amazing. During test 3, I knew Ava was close to tapped out. We’re rounding the corner to the long side where we’re supposed to do our last lengthen canter… I ask, and I feel her tighten a bit, her ears pin, and she snaked her head slightly (to let me know she was NOT happy with this), and then boom! She’s pushing with those hind legs to get as much length in her stride as she can. At three quarters she wants to stop, but I nudge slightly and she finishes the lengthen well. She dropped right into a balanced trot at C and kept on trucking. That to me, was worth more than any stupid ribbon, or award. When your horse gives everything they’ve got to you, and trusts you enough to give it… That’s priceless.
I was also really pleased that she never attempted, nor even threatened, to kick anyone. Not even the people with the clackity aluminum chairs that shoved past her rump in the aisle. For a while (when I first got her), she would kick at the slightest provocation. She didn’t want to hit you, but her aim sucks. It’s taken me over a year (with lots of help from others) to retrain her from that habit. Ava was a perfect princess the entire show! I can’t tell you how proud I am of her.
So the results, we got two Firsts and a DQ for test 3. The judge let us finish the test, and scored us. If it hadn’t DQ’d I would’ve gotten a 65% on the last one. Doh! I must memorize these darn tests! I couldn’t hear anything that was being called. I couldn’t even hear the judge when she talked to me. However, I did get a chuckle out of it. It was my third off course error, judge tells me I’m eliminated but can finish the test. Judge then yells to caller “Read the movement as many times as you need to, to get her where she needs to go. Read it three times if you have to. Point if you have to!”
That cracked me up!! 🙂
Oh, and we got Champion High Point and Champion High Percentage for First Level. That was pretty cool!