Honestly, sometimes I think that if Bravo and I ever do amount to anything, it will be by pure tenacity (mine)! I was awoken by heavy rains on my roof several times during the night Saturday, and it continued to rain until just about 7:30 am or so Sunday morning. Obviously, had mother nature given us rain all day, I would have sucked it up, but I did hope she was finished with that for the day so there would be one less thing to contend with while trying to vindicate myself in the ring.
Late tests again, right around 1:00 and 2:00 pm. This was to be my “easy” day–my freestyle first, and then Training 4 for my last All Breeds score. (I may have mentioned getting that last score at Williamston, but apparently I can’t count to 8. I blame the heat that day). After my freestyle on Saturday, I piloted my turkey right back into the warm-up, where I worked him until he was submissive (in response to 2 tests involving shenanigans). My theory is that Bravo is a smart bugger, and realized that the routine goes: warm-up, test, back to the barn. Lather, rinse, repeat. If “back to the barn” is what he wanted, then removing the “test” portion would make that happen faster! Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for him), I might be just a wee bit smarter. (Any references to the several weeks my daughter successfully blamed the cat for her pee-ing on the rug aside, I am smarter than my horse–but possibly not smarter than my 4 year old.) I hoped that by adding more work after the test, rather than the reward of a stall full of hay, we could circumvent some of Saturday’s angst. Long story short(er), we still had some shenanigans, but they remained in the warm-up this time. This is not to say there weren’t moments of resistance and posturing during the actual tests, but I was able to muscle/finesse/growl under my breath enough to smooth them out and get around largely mistake free. Each test was followed with another few trips around the warm-up (with some SPECTACULAR side passing at the canter–too bad that isn’t a movement, because we are GOOD at it!) until I could easily trot and canter with loose-ish reins in both directions. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Sunday’s musical freestyle again had 4 entries: repeat offenders Robin Brueckmann (4th level) and Dawn Weniger (1st level), and new to the weekend junior Emily Lanier riding Sam I Am (also 1st level). Except for arriving at the final halt a couple beats early, this was by far the best I’d ridden this still-lemony-fresh test. I was able to concentrate on the musical transitions AND Bravo at the same time, so it flowed nicely. Notable was my biggest fan, the aforementioned daughter Ruby, who yelled out an adorable, “Good job, Mommy! Good job, Bravo! I love you!” after the final salute. Judge Brigitte Simmons (R) must like to get her groove on, and we were rewarded with a 71+% for first place, winning by 4 percentage points! My favorite comment was regarding the musical selection, which she noted “suited both rider and horse well”. I did remember to pay my qualifying fee this time, and now officially have garnered all the necessary scores to ride in championship classes at this year’s GAIG finals at Training level, First level, and First level MFS! Can I get a “Yee Haw”? Regardless of the outcome at the finals, this was one of my lofty goals for this competition season, and I am proud of the Super (Bad) Pony and what we’ve accomplished!
My second and last test of the weekend was again in front of Kathy Rowse (S), and I’m pleased to say it went without major incident as well. I think I held my breath during the whole right lead canter, but then actually could sit up and try to fluff up that fabulous canter my horse has to the left. I received a “9” for my final centerline and halt (once easy, and recently a bit of a bugaboo), and a comment that if I had not flubbed the transition picking up my reins in the freewalk, that would have been a “9” as well. This was a large class, and we wound up on top of the board with a 69.200%, equal to my current median score for All Breeds.
It took awhile for that last class to finish and score. Weary from the longer warm-ups, the extra after-test schoolings, and lots of spent adrenaline, I leisurely packed up my stuff, moved the trailer into easy-exit position, and drank a delicious, cold, gluten-free beer. I can’t think of a nicer way to end the weekend.