Finally, after feeling like we were mired in quicksand for way too long, Ike and I are making some tangible progress toward our goal of competing at Second Level. The past week has given me a very optimistic attitude for the season ahead.
The schooling show last weekend was just the spark I needed to get the season started on an uptick. I had forgotten what a wonderful thing a schooling show can be. It was a low key and white-britches-free experience. We arrived well in advance of our rides, but I wanted to give Ike plenty of time to “drink it in” as my friend D likes to say. Instead of drinking anything, Ike opted to bury his muzzle in the grass in the parking area and ignore everyone. If we’d left after that, Ike would have considered the day a success.
Warm up was a bit of Ike’s wild ride, but luckily we had Ms. C on the ground to comfort Ike with Mrs. Pasture’s cookies. We’d signed up for First Level Test 1 and Test 3. The rider in front of me scratched, so we opted to head down centerline early.
I was pleased with our first effort. I goosed Ike on our first lengthening, and we had a bit of a spook on our left lead lengthening, but overall it was a solid test. It earned us a 71.11%. Our first ever First Level score over 70%. I was elated. The judge was very generous with both her written and oral comments. Many of her comments were geared towards what we need to add for our transition to Second Level…I greatly appreciate all of her insightful words of wisdom.
We didn’t have long to wait for our second ride (another bonus for schooling shows). I was a bit worried that the horses in the adjacent paddock might decide to have another gallop as they did for the rider ahead of me, but we lucked out with 7 minutes of calm. My apologies, but I have not yet uploaded the second video to YouTube. But I am happy to report that we received a 70.588% on Test 3 and managed to get a 7.0 and an 8.0 on our canter loops!! Hallelujah!! The girl has finally learned how to properly ride a canter loop. There is hope yet for successful countercanter!
We also survived a visit with the saddle fitter with my saddle still adequately fitting Baby Huey. She did have to stretch the tree which means if someone’s shoulders muscle up anymore, I am doomed as is my pocketbook…Since it appears that I am on borrowed time, I did test ride in a few of the newer models that Custom Saddlery ( http://www.mysaddle.com/ ) offers to see what my options might be. There were a few that I immediately cringed as soon as I sat in them (a medium twist is NOT for me), but luckily my saddle fitter had about 30-35 saddles in her trailer. I’m currently test riding in a Icon Flight model with hybrid memory foam and wool flocking. It is the new design that will be available on their website soon. Oooh, it is comfy. The knee blocks put my leg in a very steady position and I was able to stay in sit trot for more than a couple of minutes. Ike also seemed quite content with the fit. He too “told” us when he did not like the fit of the demo saddles. While I like it now, it will be interesting to see how I feel about it after 7 or 8 rides.
So I am looking towards our licensed show in two weeks with new found optimism; hoping that I can recreate the rides of last weekend for all our First Level rides. I am also eyeing our Second Level debut for May 24th. Full steam ahead!