We've got Tr2 and Tr3 on Thursday, Tr3 on Friday - both part of a "normal" USDF show being held at the same time. Then the SWDC Championship ride (also T3) is Saturday afternoon. There are a terrifying 31 people in the Adult Amateur class, and a lot of them are also riding in the First level championship class.
I'm trying to keep things in perspective. It was a goal of mine just to be able to go to the championships this year, and we're going. It's very unlikely we'll be competitive, even if we put in solid tests. The championship class judging is HARD - last year there were a lot of scores in the upper 50s for riders who usually score 65s. There are also TWO judges - one at C and one at E - and this is the first time I've ever ridden for two judges. That means my circles have to be perfect, my transitions have got to be better than good, and I have got to manage his tendency to curl up. There's no place to hide things like there is when there's only a judge at C.
I feel like there are still so many holes in our rides at this level, but of course there are always things you can improve on. I'm trying to focus on what we CAN do for this weekend, instead of thinking so much about how bad our downward canter transitions could be or how he might blow through my aids. So my goals are:
- Stay in the arena
- Keep my hands down and STAY OUT OF HIS FACE. This will be hard as he gets more tired because he likes to lean and I like to pull, but my trainer will be there to hopefully keep me honest.
- Inside leg. More. MORE. MOAR INSIDE LEG.
- Ride the hell out of the trot - forward but not quick. For the first time at a show, I plan on posting the trot and trying to surf the new, super-engaged trot we've found in the last month. He's not strong enough to hold it for long, but I will ride every step asking for that trot.
- Halt at X. Seriously. AT X. Hear that Paddy? X. EEEEEXXXXX.
- Look UP when I'm riding transitions, especially downward transitions. Otherwise I just throw him further on his forehand.
Last night we did a short ride where I tried to make everything very accurate. In the interest of not having the horse-show-crazy rub off on Paddy, I kept it to w/t. He was a very good boy, we got some of the bigger trot, and I managed to keep his right hind somewhat under control. Oh, and we halted at X.
Hopefully I'll have wifi and can post during the show, but given my recent lack of blogging skills, we'll see. If anyone's in the Houston area and will be at the show, good luck! We'll see you there!