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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Test Blog From the Road

S&S decked out Kentucky Derby style!
We are in the Santa Ynez Valley this weekend at our friends wedding. It provided the perfect opportunity to write a test blog from the road!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Irk, eek, WOW....Mr. toad's wild ride

Susan, MP, Christiane Noelting and "the saddle."

I had a fascinating show weekend a week ago. I've been contemplating my post and digesting the happenings of the weekend, which is why I'm so late in writing.

About two weeks ago I found out that, according to my scores, I was ranked number 1 in the US for third level adult amateur. This was huge and I couldn't believe it. But when I went to check my ranking, officially, I wasn't ranked. It turns out that 6 of my best scores didn't count because of my memberships, so I needed three scores (all over 66%) to be officially ranked by USDF. In order to do this, I had to show in two shows in one weekend. Exhausting!!

The weekend started out with a thump on Friday where I earned a 64% at 3-3. Enough to give us first place in the glass as well as 10 points towards CNDC Dressage Derby. If you qualify for the derby, names are drawn out of hats and you win prizes. So it was a bitter sweet victory. I got the point for the derby, and first place in the class, but I didn't get a 66%.

The next day was the actual derby and you have to be present in show attire to claim your prize. So I decided to also ride my freestyle for practice. This turned out to be the worst idea I've has so far, because the sound system went our and made this terrible screeching noise, which scared MP half-to-death and resulted in the worst ride we've had this year. She was tight, scared, and I should have just scratched. I was also livid about the sound system because I had asked for a sound check at 9:00, 2 hours before my ride, and they decided to do it just before I rode. Bad show protocol. I won't be riding my freestyle there ever again.

Victory lap - MP was hot trot!

Even though I was upset, the derby followed my freestyle so I had to stay on MP and I had to just get over it. Which was good because my name was the first drawn out of the hat and I won a $3600 saddle!!! Thank you Schleese! I also won a Skagen watch which is my favorite watch company. So, although riding my freestyle was a mistake and ruined my freestyle ranking, I still came out on top!

On Sunday, we headed to our final show of the weekend. The judge was a toughy, and I was really worried about my scores. My first test was pretty good, but MP was scared of the judges stand - a little PTSD from the day before. My first score was a 66% and landed me in 2nd place. A very good score considering the PTSD and tough judging. But I needed a 68% to claim USDF #1 AA at third level. No pressure.

I gave MP a good break before my next warm up and I really just tried to focus on relaxing. She was great in the warm up, but felt a little tired. When I got in the show ring she felt great. My ride was going superb until we got to the right half-pass to the flying change - both co-efficients (20 points rather than 10). The half-pass was OK, but just before I asked for the change, she spooked at the judges stand and the change was late. 8 points out of 20. BUMMER! That also gave us lower mark for submission. So I got a 64%. I thought it should have been a little higher, but the spooking is what it is.

I'm not sure where that landed me in the rankings, but it doesn't matter anymore. The fact is, when I didn't know about the rankings I was much more relaxed and my scores reflected that. When I got uptight about getting a specific score, I lost focus on why I'm doing this. Because I love it!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Holy 73.7% batman!

Still trying to figure out how to upload videos directly to the blog, but in the mean time here are the YouTube links to my video's from last weekend's show:
3-3 test

WARNING - they are super grainy because of YouTube. The video itself is really high quality.

The show was fantastic! I received my last qualifying score for my third level freestyle so I am completely qualified for Championships in October. On my freestyle I received a 73.7%! Still a few small mistakes like my entrance and not quite "through" extended trot, but it was so much fun to ride! I actually cried afterward because if felt so good! This score was the highest at the show and earned us a high point ribbon and $50 gift certificate to a local tack store. I love winning "stuff!"

On my 3-3 test I received a 68.8% which also was awesome. It was the first place score and was even higher than the professional scores. Same thing - a few mistakes but all in all a really nice test. MP was quite proud of herself!

On the techy side of things, we (me & horse-show-husband) ordered two new Dell laptops for our anniversary. We have the big fifth ann coming up in two weeks so we thought, "why not have two computers so we can each sit on the couch in front of the TV and really have something better to do than talk to each other?" Just kidding! But what it will allow us to do is blog on the road, upload video on the road and upload photos for our friends and family to enjoy. So while we're at the Championships in LA, you can be there with us!

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

Like mother, like daughter

MP's oldest daughter Wednesday had her first show last weekend. And guess what? She won! Like mother, like daughter! She had scores in the 70's and is well on her way to being exactly like her mother. Wednesday is five and is for sale, so if you would like a mini MP email me and I'll put you in touch with Katy. I'll post pictures if I can get them from Katy.

Freestyle coordinator

Everyone, meet Diane Kernodle our freestyle coordinator. Diane owns and operates Center Stage Musical Freestyles here in Northern California. She's awesome! She's been great to work with, very patient and she's fantastic at music selection and choreography. She really knows how to match music for both the horse and rider. Here's her website and if you are looking for a freestyle coordinator, I highly recommend Diane!

MP turns 14& Ellen Clinic

Friday was MP's 14th b-day! She got to celebrate by working her tail off in 100 degree weather. But she was very happy about it. I've had a sinus infection so I took last week off from riding which meant MP had some siesta time in her pasture. It also meant that by Friday she was hot to trot. So even though it was 100 degrees for our first lesson with Ellen, MP was ready to go.

Our lessons with Ellen were great (as usual) and we just worked on perfecting things to get ready for the Champs in LA next month. Still working on letting her carry me and not pushing her constantly with my lower back. And now I'm trying to just get the technical stuff nailed down so I can count on 7's and 8's in my tests. Ellen was very pleased with our progress and I have to say after reviewing videos and photos from Jan I am too! It is amazing how much we've come along since first meeting in Jan. Plus we love each other which helps!