As you all know, riding has been challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic on most days. To stay motivated here at home, I decided to enter a virtual dressage show put on locally. The show organizer puts on a string of schooling dressage shows here in middle Tennessee, but due to the coronavirus decided to make all this year’s schooling shows virtual. How hard can it be, right?
Well, I now know I am not a dressage expert. I also now know that the hardest thing to do when you need to is ride a straight line and halt in the middle of the arena. Who would have thought that that was so difficult? I am working on Training Level, and all tests require that you trot in down the center line, halt at X, which is the center of the arena, salute, then trot off – preferably in a straight line. Why is this so hard? It’s just a straight line, right? Maybe I’ll stick with jumping.
No, I can do this! So we’ve been practicing without drilling. It’s getting somewhat better, but we still struggle for the square halt. It’s more of Dante trotting crookedly down the center line, wavering in miniscule serpentines till we hit somewhere near the middle of the arena before walking and throwing his haunches one way or the other and stopping with one back leg hanging back as if it weren’t connected to the rest of his body. Now, all blame doesn’t go to Dante, of course, I need to ask properly, and ride properly. One thing about Dante, he loves to do what I ask, and if I don’t ask properly, he’ll be happy to let me know.
We managed to get it somewhat together, and Jerry, my dear husband-now-videographer, recorded our tests. That first show we entered Training Level Test 1, Test 2, and Test 3. Surprisingly, it was actually a lot of fun to practice for, and it definitely gave me a goal and gave me direction on what to work on rather than wandering aimlessly around the arena all summer long.
When the results came back from that first show, I received a 67.885% on Test 1, which was good for second place. I was thrilled! For Test 2, we received a 64.310%, which put us in fifth place. Finally, on Test 3 we received 62.414%, which put us in seventh place. So all in all, it was a good first dressage show for a jumper rider and Thoroughbred jumper.
And now that we got the first show under our belt, I did a second one, which I just got the results for. We still wiggle down that center line, but other things are starting to improve. We just did Training Level Test 1 and Test 2 since the weather has been unbearably hot. In Test 1 we received 68.077%, which was an improvement from our first show, and it was also good enough for first place in that class. In Test 2 we received 67.414%, again an improvement from our first show, and that put us in second place for Training Level Test 2 class.
My next show is scheduled for September 12th. Maybe by then I can ride in a straight line. I decided to try the Freestyle class at Training level for this next show, so that will be fun. I’ll report back in September.