Today I competed at Boyton Hall in Prelim 13 and Novice 24. Both are really nice and simple tests.
In the warm up arena I noticed Arnie was a little flat and fidgety with his head. Not his usual soft self and my contact was inconsistent and the more he shook his head about, the more my hands moved and the more he shook his head about.
On and on it went. We were then called to compete. The judge today was Tori Bahal. She’s never judged me and I’d heard she was a tough but fair judge, but wouldn’t let things slide by, not even for a ten year old just starting her dressage journey. It started off badly. I entered at A, but I could see I was off the centre line by a long shot. I had to make a decision to carry on in a nice straight line where I was or move back onto the centre line. I decided to stay where I was and thankfully I still got a fairly high mark as I was still straight.
Arnie continued to fight for his reins through the entire test, but his paces were flat and unenthusiastic. I literally couldn’t wait for it to be all over. I honestly thought I didn’t have enough of a performance to get into the 50 percent marker band so I was really shocked to get a 60.58% and even more shocked when I was presented a 5th place rosette. Really felt it wasn’t quite deserved but I took it anyway and hurried away in case they changed their minds 🙂 Even though I only enter the Prelims to warm up and get Arnie used to all the ‘monsters’ in the arena, I was quite disappointed with my performance.
The Novice 24 I felt that I had done slightly better in. Of course it’s a much more difficult test than the prelim with more advanced movements so this was the test I really had turned up for. But again our troubles were with the contact. My mind started to wander. Was his bridle rubbing somewhere? Plaits too tight? The 24 is a nice test with some lovely long movements, but still I felt we lacked our usual spark. I got my test sheet back marked by the judge and got a mark of 59.17% which is below what I was hoping for. I feel that I should be achieving in the mid-high 60s. Nevertheless, that mark got me a 3rd place and I took comfort in the fact that I was in the top 3.
Lots of comments from the judge to work on. An average performance but at least the sun was shining.