Oh So and I headed to CDCTA Dressage At Morningside on Aug. 18, and I’m happy to report we got our final score for our bronze medal!
We had later ride times, so it was pretty warm, but luckily overcast. We rode Third 2 twice, once in the regular class and once in the Test Of Choice class because I didn’t want to have to learn Third 3 with only two weeks.
Unfortunately Heidi wasn’t available for a lesson the week after Loch Moy, so I worked on my own a bit just riding lots of haunches in in canter to prepare for the half passes.
The week before CDCTA I did a cross-country schooling on Sunday, and he had Monday off. When I brought him in from the field on Tuesday night, after checking on him Tuesday morning, he had a small wound that had blown up his left ankle. He was super sensitive to touch but not lame.
Even so, I decided to give him Tuesday off, then when it hadn’t gone down at all after cold hosing and icing on Wednesday, I gave him that day off too. I was getting a little nervous by then since we’d missed our chance to ride with Heidi and work on parts of the test that needed improvement.
I finally got on on Thursday, and he was sound. The swelling had gone down about halfway, and I could see it looked more like a circular puncture wound than a kick, but I guess I’ll never know what it really was.
I ran through a few movements, and nervously left for a wedding on Thursday evening. My friend Meghan hacked him on Friday, and I showed up Saturday feeling underprepared on the details of the test but I kept telling myself we were capable of getting the 60 percent needed.
The first test felt slightly tight, and it looked that way from the video too. I think I was just physically a little tight from not riding much that week, so I wasn’t sitting to the best of my ability, plus the nerves probably didn’t help.
Luckily the judge didn’t comment on any of that, but it could have been more flowing.
He was on the verge of jigging in his walk work, especially in the turn on the haunches, which we’re totally capable of getting 7.5s on. We ended up with a 4 and a 4.5.
The right to left change was about the same as usual but we got a 6, and the left to right got a 7, which was nice. I’m still not very practiced with the 20-meter canter circle where you give the reins forward, so we got a 6 there. We got 6s and 6.5s for our collectives and mostly 6s and a few 5.5s throughout the rest of the test. We did get a 7 for the shoulder-in left and a 7.5 for the right renvers which was surprising since I’m still not confident in riding that movement.
I ended up with a 61.15% for my final score!
With that pressure off, I think the second test was a little more flowing. That test ended up with more 6s and 7s, with just one 5 for the right to left change. We ended up with a 63.20% and won both classes (although the TOC it was just us!).
After spending years typing medal winners for COTH’s American Horses In Sport issue, I never thought I’d have my name on the list. It always seemed like such a huge goal to get a USDF medal, and I’m so proud of my horse and myself for doing it.
I rarely set goals with him now at his age because each day we can ride is a blessing, so to be able to reach a goal is a cool feeling. There’s still so much more we can improve upon, including our changes and half passes, so we’ll work with Heidi on that this winter and maybe do a few shows next year.
But for now, we are done with dressage and on to eventing again for the fall! We had a little gallop earlier this week, and he was so happy to be out and running again. We’ve got Seneca, Maryland and Waredaca on the calendar. Let’s just hope for good weather!
As for work, I headed to Chicago to cover the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions last week. I took a vacation day to visit a friend who lived in Naperville, and she kindly took me around Chicago and did touristy things. We did an architecture tour and spent some time in Millennium Park. It ended up being lovely and somewhat cool, which was a welcome relief after the hot and humid summer we’ve been having.
Then I headed to Wayne, Illinois, with a co-worker to cover the horse show. It’s a lovely facility, and the town is really cute, but unfortunately we were so busy we never got a chance to explore, just drive through.
After four days and 14 divisions, I’m over dressage and ready for WEG and eventing this fall!