As we head into fall (or so the calendar tells me, because its still 90 degrees here), its a good time to look back on our progress over the past several months. Not just because of the changing seasons, but because its really easy with horses to get so immured in the problem du jour, you forget to remember how far you’ve come.
My goals starting this year were to show Third Level, get my Bronze Medal, qualify for Region 1 GAIGs and start working on the canter we’ll need in order to execute pirouettes.
Fortunately, I was able to knock out that first goal in early May. We debuted at the CDCTA spring show at Morven Park. The show went well, even though I took the “Jesus take the reins” approach to changes the first day. You know…prep prep prep for the change, then close your eyes and sit there like a doof. Yeah, that doesn’t work. I remembered to ride the second day, but my scores were both JUST SHY of the needed qualifying scores.
Second show in June at Culpeper went better. For both tests, I remembered to actually ride every movement. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for years by biggest showing bugaboo has been that I go in the ring and expect that my horse will just take over and magically make the test happen. I’m so afraid of looking like I’m doing anything that I don’t do anything. Just as in the “Jesus take the reins approach”, this is also not a good plan. The heat at this show was absolutely brutal, and Cardoon definitely felt it, but he rallied to the occasion and we managed to score a 64+ for our first qualifying score.
I swore that third time (at Third Level) was the charm, and we went to Dressage at Lexington. I could not have been happier. As usual, Kevin came and set up home base at the Airstream in the Horse Center campground. He also was a champ and cooked for all of Team Sprieser for a few days, for which we are all eternally grateful. On the showing front, I was still working on riding enough so that we have the collection the judges really expect from Third Level, but we held ourselves together and got that last qualifying score, and the last score for my USDF Bronze Medal! Woo hoo!!! The icing on the cake was winning Reserve Champion in the Third Level Sporting Horse Amateur Challenge – not something I ever expected or dreamed of.
Perhaps there’s a theme emerging in my year. I never bought Cardoon with the expectation that we would show Third or get my Bronze. I really never expected that we would score so well in good company at real shows. I never expected that I would enjoy dressage shows as much as I do or have found such good friends in this discipline as I have.
I think its time to up my expectations…