Well, technically,I guess we are a heck of a lot more than HALFWAY to the Bronze, since it’s taken several years to train her to this point. So, maybe the more accurate statement would be “almost” to our Bronze!
My first ride was at 8:37 and it was COLD. I was wearing two underarmour-type shirts, silk long johns, and two pairs of socks with chemical foot warmers stuck in the bottom of my riding boots! Marie was very kind and came out just to school me. I was a nervous wreck and was very glad for calming influence! I really didn’t allow enough time for our warm up considering she’d stood in a stall all night AND it was very cold. Her back was still fairly tight when we went in, and she was a little boogery of the raised seating area at one side of the arena. I realized that I had never shown Fling in any arena that was enclosed, or one that had any sort of grandstand adjacent to it. We had a fairly clean ride, but she was a bit stiff and her gaits were not as good as usual. We got a 57 – which was still an improvement over how we did last spring at our previous (and only other) outing at a recognized show at Third.
Our second ride was at 12:25 and it had warmed up enough to be almost pleasant. With Marie’s help I got her bending much better, a bit more forward and I did not have such a bad case of ‘rider mortis’ this time around. We rode Third level test 3, which is a bit tougher than the test we’d ridden earlier in the day. We had another pretty clean test – and actually our flying changes on the centerline were better than the ‘easier’ ones across the diagonal. But, I still had no idea how we’d scored when I finished. I knew it was better than the first test, but had no feel for how it would score.
A friend and I went to lunch after I got Fling cooled of and I’d changed clothes, and they had some of the scores from our class posted, but not ours. While we were at lunch, Marie called and said, “So you know about your score?” and I said No, I don’t. And she told me we’d scored a 62.8% and were in second place so far. I actually burst into tears!
We ended up in third place but I did not care at all. I was beyond thrilled that we’d earned one of our scores!
Earning my Bronze medal has been a goal for several years – well, actually I’ve wanted to earn my Bronze (and my Silver too!) for decades, but until I actually started riding Fling, and got her to second level, it really seemed like an unattainable goal.
The Bronze Medal is part of the USDF rider program. To earn it requires two scores of 60% or better from two different judges at first, second and third levels. To get the Silver Medal you have to earn two scores of 60% or better at Fourth and Prix St. Georges. And to earn the Gold you have to earn two scores from Intermediare I or Intermediaire II and two scores from Grand Prix.
Tomorrow my first ride is at 10 – a much more civilized time – and I hope I will be less nervous and able to ride Fling better. My second ride is at 1:55.
And I hope I can earn that second score tomorrow! But, even if I don’t – I know she’s capable of doing the work and we’re fairly ready for his level!