Thursday, October 12, 2023


 It's been a bit but I didn't want to jinx myself by talking about my attempt at Third.  I had at least a dozen times where I wanted to back out and a couple times I really almost changed my mind.  But I did it!  I went in the ring and I did the thing!

We had a bit of a tough time with the weather.  The rain rolled in Friday night and stuck around most of the weekend.  Saturday was still relatively warm but bands of rain were coming through.  The footing was getting a bit dicey while I warmed up in a crowd with the rain pouring down.  Grateful for my eventing background that sent me hustling to the tack shop to get some tech gloves.  My reins stayed in my hands where they belonged even when it poured on our test!

It wasn't a weekend for bronze medal scores, it was about getting that first test out of the way and convincing myself I could do it.  And that we did!  My scores were very fair and we got a 55.6%.  We got 6.5s for a lot of our trot work and a 7 for gaits.  We were definitely ready for the level.  We also got a 1 for our second flying change because Theo decided to be an over achiever and do that while still in the half passe so I didn't get to show one.  Sigh.  He also bucked at the start of our release in the canter move which did not help our scores.  But we were still first in our class of 4.  On the day, in the terrible conditions, we were the best.

He added some flair in places such as his first flying change.  Got a 6.  At least it was clean?

Shoulder-in and renver are so easy for him, it's ridiculous.  6.5s across the board with smooth transitions between movements.  4.0 for our first turn on the haunches because he just noped out in the middle.  We can work on that over the winter.  

You can see the mucky conditions.  The footing at GMHA is generally good but nothing holds up under the amount of rain we've had this year.  Theo was not enjoying it but he did march around well.  Got conservative on our extended canter because I didn't want him to slip.

I did my final salute and it took me a couple hours to really realize that we'd done it.  We'd moved up and survived.  And then I totally cried on my tolerant pony's shoulder because that was a long, long time coming.

It poured Saturday night to the point that groundskeepers were out monitoring the flooding to make sure they didn't need to evacuate stabling.  Good news is that the water stayed out of stabling, the bad news is that the footing became soup.  I scratched on Sunday after watching a beautiful, balanced mare retire in the middle of her Third level test because she was slipping too much to do her canter work.  Theo and I are very new to the level, we're not ready to take on the added challenge of footing sliding when he's trying to jump up into his movements.

So the 2023 season is over and we finally, finally moved up to Third.  The judge's comments were very encouraging and since they're from an S judge, I feel like we demonstrated that we are ready.  No, not 60%, but I was very nervous and made some silly mistakes (hard to set up the half pass nicely when you completely miss center line).  We demonstrated that we can do all of the movements in an acceptable way and even got a 6 for the extended trot.  A little more confidence and some dryer footing?  Yeah, we'll get those scores.  

Someone might have talked me into shooting for regionals next year since I'll be done with school.  It sounds like a great way to celebrate my doctorate.

1 comment: