After the previous two days' slightly error-prone tests, I was determined to make the most of my last day. Taran warmed up a little quick and heavy - he wanted me to balance him, but we did some trot-halt-trot transitions to get him more organized and a little hotter off my leg. We also did a ton of super bendy small serpentines to really get him flexible, and then we were off.
So much more balanced
I was so pleased with this test. Sure, there are plenty of things that could be better, but overall I felt like it was steady, balanced, and consistent. And there were somethings that were really good - our leg yields, our canter lead change, and our last trot lengthening. Unfortunately, with our score of 64.044%, we only managed 12th out of 21. Still, I feel like this was our best 1-3 test of the year, and I'm super happy with it.
Our final test was GAIC Training 3. Taran was about done with the whole concept of showing by this point, not that I blame him. I kept the warmup short and sweet, focusing on bending and me riding good transitions (MORE INSIDE THIGH). I warmed up with a whip and then dropped it before doing my courtesy lap around the arena, and Taran figured out that I had spurs on when I asked for some bend, he didn't respond, and then I got after him. He was VERY obedient off my leg after that!
In this test, I knew that making my figure geometry perfect would count for a lot, so I rode every step of those serpentines and 20 meter circles. Of course our free walk and stretchy trot circle sucked (as usual), and our canter transitions (which had been lovely in warmup) were not through because I had too much inside hand. Otherwise I was fairly happy with the test - and super glad to be done.
Our score for this one was a 65.795%, and based on how everyone else was scoring, it looked like it might be good enough for a ribbon. As we were packing up, both my trainer and I kept refreshing the online score page on our phones. We were sitting in 4th for a long time, but there were still scores coming in. Finally... finally... they were all posted. We'd managed to hang on for a 5th place (out of 16), and I was SO excited. I'd really, really wanted a ribbon for this show, because it would be the icing on the cake for a pretty fantastic year. And we'd done it.
Our final halt of the weekend. Taran's ears say it all.
I'd never ridden in award ceremony before, and it was pretty special to me. The show organizers really do a great job of making sure everyone knew where to go, and making everyone feel like they had their moment to shine.
Walking by the officials.
I felt a huge amount of gratitude to Taran for overcoming so much and trying so hard for me, to my trainer for pushing us to be our best, to FuzzyPony for loaning me her boy, and of course to my husband who has been so supportive of me. If you'd told me at the beginning of the year - when Paddy was doing rehab, Brego was lame from a recurring abscess, and I'd just pulled an out-of-shape, uncoordinated grey pasture puff out of the field - that's we'd be riding in the GAIG awards ceremony in October, I would have told you that you're crazy.
But apparently it's not entirely crazy, because there we are in the middle.
Certain little grey horses are pretty awesome after all!