Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chasing the bronze

The USDF's rider award program is meant to give riders a goal even if they don't have an amazing warmblood that barely needs to touch the ground in order to get across the ring.  Score over 60% and you're on your way, regardless of the fact that the winner in your class scored a 75% or something else insane.  I really like this program.  Fiona actually got a certificate of accomplishment at the Training level because of her multiple scores in the 60's.  The Bronze medal is the award that most ammies strive for since Third Level is achieveable even for us mere mortals with our flawed horses.

Even those of us with draft crosses that pull both front shoes, go foot sore, have pads added, and are now in a stall because their delicate tootsies need a break from New Hampshire's number one crop:  granite.

Good work, Theo.  Hand walking and bute are a go until his tootsies feel better.  Hoof testers didn't show anything specific, so we're hopeful it's not an abscess, just sore from being barefoot longer than expected.  Not that he minds being in a stall with a full hay manger.

There's no reason a sound, sane horse can't do Second Level, even if he is a bit klutzy.  I've schooled Second Level with Fi, so I'm aware of what the test calls for and how the movements go together.  Theo's already been introduced to a lot of the movements while we teach him to carry his own weight.  He's a cute mover and he's starting to handle the mental pressure well.  A decent work ethic is emerging.  There's really no reason at all that he can't be a Second Level horse.  Not this year or next year, but two years from now?

Next year:  First Level.  I think I need one more qualifying score since I ran Fi in the opportunity classes at her last couple of shows and those don't count for rider awards.  Also, mi papi needs some miles.  So my goal for next year is to get him going at First Level, ideally scoring over 60% in First 3.  It's going to be hard, we're going to have to bust our butts all winter, but he's got it in him.  Then we can step up to Second Level.

And who knows, maybe even Third one day.  Theo can get me the first 4 scores, I know it, and possibly all 6.   

I've been unofficially chasing my Bronze medal for years, but now I want to make it my official goal.  Hang it up on the wall, so's to speak. I know there are a lot of ammies out there like me that are bravely stepping into the world of dressage with their non-typical horses and with non-typical training and attitudes.  But we can do it!  Each of us will fight to sit back, will push for every inch of reach from our not so floaty partners, and will strive to nail those square halts to get extra points where we can!  We will ignore the fact that we can't remember which is tranvers and which is renvers, will practice in our jumping saddles when necessary, and will always be proud of our ponies for not executing airs above the ground during the test!

We are dressage riders, hear us whimper while trying to sit an extended trot!


  1. I have never understood that travers/renvers thing. NEVER.

    Welcome to the bus. It's going to be an interesting ride.

  2. exciting goal!! i've considered the bronze... but feel a little too overwhelmed by things like 'steady contact' and 'connected canter departs' to make it an actual goal for us haha