Finally — I am a USDF Bronze Medalist!

We earned our second score in our first ride this morning — only a 60.5%, but good enough for Bronze! I really don’t think it has sunk in yet!  And even though I have earned it – since the USDF Awards year does not end until the end of September – and rider Medals are awarded at the USDF Awards Dinner/Convention in December – I won’t actually GET my medal until late December of next January! I used to always say that if I ever actually EARNED the stinking thing, I would go to the Awards Dinner and get it in person. And I still might – it just depends on where it’s behind held!

My trainer, Marie Morgan, came out to school me yesterday, even though I was her only student at the show. Expecting her to come out a second day would just be too much, so I got Richard Howard, a trainer from Austin, to school me this morning. I used to clinic with him on a regular basis and he’s schooled me at some other shows when I did not have a trainer there.

I was really glad I got my score this morning – I considered scratching my second ride, since it was almost 5 hours after my morning ride. But I figured, hey, the pressure is off, and I can use all the experience I can get riding the third level tests in a show situation. Richard needed to leave before my second ride, but that was OK.

During our second ride, the harder Third level Test 3, we totally blew one of our flying changes, and got a 1 on that movement, which really hurt. I also forgot that in the halt/reinback in this test, you trot straight from reinback – and I walked instead – since that’s how it rides in 3/1. She also ‘stuck’ one of her turns on the haunches and that was a 4.  I had several 7s – mostly shoulder-in and half pass. Those are her strongest movements. She also still needs to get lighter and have more self carriage and get better from coming back from my seat. And of course, those flying changes!  We got a 58% but I was fine with that considering the mistakes.

I was so very proud of my little horse. For luck, during our ride, I wore  a bracelet made from tail hair from her mother, Sonnys Mona Lisa+/.  Lisa contributed a lot to our Bronze medal – not only as being Fling’s mom, but also for teaching me a lot about riding and training. I got her trained to Second level but I only showed her twice at Second level but did not manage to earn any scores toward my Bronze at Second with her.

It ‘takes a village’ to get a horse and rider to Third level. I am grateful for the ‘village’ of people who helped Fling and me along the way – in chronological order:

  • My vet Gregg Knape, who was personally responsible for Fling’s creation when I bred Lisa, and was also there (at 4:30 a.m.!) when she was born! And for keeping Fling healthy and sound ever since!
  • Brooke Cramton for starting Fling under saddle and for coaching us to Second level
  • Richard Howard, who I cliniced with on a regular basis for a few years
  • Marta Renilla, who I trained with for about two years and who really helped me “fix” my hands
  • Marie Morgan, my current trainer, and Debbie Bowman, who Marie also trains with, who have both helped me fix my turns on the forehand, and vastly improve her canter, and who I know can help me to the next level

Although we earned our Bronze at Third level I know that we still have a lot of work to do at this level before we can even think about moving to Fourth level. But I know that my little horse has the talent and the heart to get there – and beyond!


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